Livestock project targets returned refugees
Recently returned refugees and other vulnerable people are the target of a new pilot project to improve crop production and livestock farming in northern Uganda.
Self Help Africa has teamed up with the Ugandan branch of UK charity ‘Send a Cow’ to support 300 families in an initial pilot to develop livestock farming and support crop production activities in Amuru region.
In a region that has endured close to a decade of severe disruption, during which tens of thousands of households were forced from their land in the face of rebel activity and civil unrest, the work will be carried out in five communities in Paiyech and Pagak districts of Amuru.
While years of neglect have seen farmland become overgrown, waterways choked, and local road networks fall into disrepair, this pilot agriculture and livestock project is seen as a key first step in enabling smallholder farmers to return their land to productivity. The project will focus on crops and mixed livestock– the latter to be carried out on a ‘pass-on’ basis that will see participants return calves, goats and pigs to the project once breeding has been started – so that other households can use the start-up livestock to begin their own breeding activities.
The scheme was launched in late July, and is targeting 300 vulnerable families including households headed by women and widows, by orphans, by people with disability, and by rural youths living in Amuru district. Training in a range of activities, including social development, sustainable organic agriculture and animal husbandry, is currently under way.
‘Lead farmers’ are also being trained in the local community, and will be largely responsible for the management and operation of the scheme, and for the mentoring of others. It is expected that up to 2,000 people will directly benefit over the three years of the pilot project.