South Korea has contributed $2m to boost nutrition and household incomes in Karamoja.
The money, approximately Shs 4.8bn, will be spent on efforts to boost the production and marketing of vegetables such as cowpeas, egg plants and cabbages. Because of its semi arid conditions, Karamoja region lags behind both in terms of human and economic development compared to other parts of the country.
While announcing the package recently in Kampala, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) officials said twelve thousand people who are food insecure will benefit from the donation. Under the eighteen-month project, farmers will get inputs and will be equipped with skills to grow and market vegetables.
The UN agencies of World Food Programme (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organisation, which are actively involved in several rehabilitation and relief programs in Karamoja, are charged with administering the project. KOICA and WFP officials say that Karamoja communities require this kind of support because vegetables fetch high prices on local markets.
As such, vegetables could hugely generate income for producers as well as enhance food security in the region. In a joint press statement issued after announcing details of the project, Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Uganda, Park Jongdae praised KOICA for contributing towards Karamoja.
"I am convinced that the donation will help WFP's efforts to bring about sustainability while reducing food insecurity in the region," Jongdae said.
The Resident Representative of KOICA Uganda, Kang Younhwa, noted that the project would help sustain vulnerable families in Karamoja and contribute to reducing the risks associated with economic migration. Sory Ouane, the WFP country director, welcomed KOICA's "generous" contribution, saying it will boost their support towards Karamoja.