3 March 2010

Uganda: German Team Aids Karimojong Farmers

About 283 households with a population of 1,888 Karimojong warriors who have embarked on farming activities in Alekilek Village, Iriir in Moroto have been equipped with farming tools by the German Technical Co-operation Team.

The tools include axes, hand hoes, oxen plough, pangas, watering cans, improved seeds such as millet, maize, sorghum, sunflower, cow peas, beans and bicycles worth Shs70m. While giving out the tools, the German Technical Team leader, Dr Ahamed Abdullahi, said that apart from farming tools, the organisation has earmarked Shs100m for supporting Karimojong farmers to open more land to boost farming activities in the district of Moroto, especially Iriir which has a green belt. He encouraged the Karimojong who have turned from cattle rustling and embraced farming to grow more food. "By growing more food, you will help the region to develop," he said.

Dr Abudlahi appealed to political leaders to work together to stop food insecurity and malnutrition in the region. "This is the starting point of German support to Karamoja, but more will come if we work together," he said. Dr Abudlahi promised that German Agricultural officials will help farmers learn how to use the new technology and supervise farming activities to ensure that the targeted districts of Karamoja, Moroto and Nakapiripirt become a food basket for the region. According to Dr Abudlahi, the region has vast land for agricultural use but cultivation was previously done on a small scale due to lack of tools and inputs for massive agricultural production.

Last year in April, the First lady, who's also the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Ms Janet Museveni, launched the large scale farming scheme in Karamoja, saying that the region is capable of producing enough food for its people. She advised Karimojong farmers to take advantage of the tractors which the government gave to every district in the region to open up large gardens. The World Food Programme opened up land in Alekilek Village, Iriir, about 400 acres to the farmers, on which they planted cassava. By August, they will be harvesting and this will mark the first time in 10 years for Karamoja to produce food.

The LCV chairperson - Moroto, Peter Ken Lochap, thanked the German team for their support and advised the beneficiaries to handle the tools given to them well in order to improve their livelihood. The Deputy RDC Moroto, Bob Opio, cautioned farmers against selling the farm inputs given to them, and instructed the LCs to monitor the people and arrest anyone who tries to sell them off.

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