Cassava Project Offers Food, Hope In Northeastern Uganda
Some 16,000 residents of the dry Karamoja region are learning to cultivate cassava, a drought-resistent crop that can help the area overcome its longstanding hunger problems. It's one of the ways WFP and its sister UN agency FAO are promoting long-term 'food security'.
NAMALERA, KARAMOJA -- The temperatures sizzled as our car sped through the dusty plains of
We reached Namalera at about
With each hunger crisis, WFP has been there – providing school meals, trading food for work on community projects and, more recently, offering health and nutrition programmes for mothers and children. But life remains difficult.
Now, WFP is launching a new cassava cuttings programme that may improve the fortunes of Karamoja’s residents. The programme, implemented in close collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization, reflects WFP’s shift from distributing food to also looking for more long-term ways to address hunger.
“WFP is not planning to do away with food aid,” Sisulu said. “However, we will also help the people of Karamoja invest in projects that can increase production, protect the environment, help with water harvesting and contribute to enhanced and varied means to earn incomes.”
Sharing with others
The programme targets nearly 16,000 residents, who will receive food and cash as incentives for cultivating cassava cuttings in community gardens. A drought-resistant, high-yielding plant, cassava can contribute immensely to a family’s ‘food security’. The project’s participants will share the windfalls from their harvests.
As Sisulu planted the first cuttings, Betty Akol, a mother of four and guardian to up to 16 relatives, said: “We are excited. We will be able to sell cassava and earn some money, and we can replant it and share the cuttings with others.
“This year has been dry, but we shall wait,” Akol added. “Whatever time the rain comes, we will plant.”