Refugees Cultivate Own Food For Survival

1129 Views Kyegegwa, Uganda

In short
Francis Okulu, the Acting Commandant Kyaka II settlement center, says since the refugees have managed to adjust to the life in the camp, they are being encouraged to utilize the plots of land they were allocated.

Refugees in Kyaka II settlement center in Kyegegwa district have started cultivating their own food. The move comes at a time when the World Food Programme-WFP plans to reduce food rations handed out to refugees in the country. 
 
 
Kyaka II settlement center is home to 19,500 refugees. Last month, WFP said that they would cut the food rations by 50 percent. The decision comes at a time WFP is struggling to raise $67 million to cover its refugee operations for the next six months. Records from WFP show that the body spends US $ 12 million to feed about 650,000 refugees in various in Uganda each month. 



The planned food cuts have forced Congolese and Rwandese refugees in Kyaka II camp to utilize the pieces of land allocated to them upon their arrival to cultivate food. The refugees have started planting crops such as maize, cassava and beans among others. 



Francis Okulu, the Acting Commandant Kyaka II settlement center, says since the refugees have managed to adjust to the life in the camp, they are being encouraged to utilize the plots of land they were allocated. He explains that they want the refugees to attain self-reliance as opposed to relying on food relief.

 

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Dr. Charles Kajura, the officer in- charge of medical services at the Refugee Centre, says the impact of food cuts could see vulnerable groups, like children, elderly and pregnant women admitted to hospital due to hunger. 



He explains that since each household is allocated land to grow food, they are encouraging the refugees to grow nutritious food to supplement supplies from World Food Program. 

 
However, due to shortage of land in the area, the refugees have often clashed with the local community, who accuse the refuges of grabbing their land. The residents have often petitioned the office of the Prime Minister (OPM). 


Uganda currently hosts about 650, 000 refugees fleeing violence and human rights abuses in their country. They are hosted in 9 gazetted settlements in Rwamwanja, Nakivale, Kyangwali, Kyaka, Koboko, Oruchinga, Rhino refugee camp, Kiryandongo and Adjumani. 




The refugees are from South Sudan, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Somalia among others. 

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.