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Kapelebyong Residents Turn to Kitchen Gardening to Fight Malnutrition :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kapelebyong Residents Turn to Kitchen Gardening to Fight Malnutrition

Cecilia Amoding of Acilakide Women Farmers’ Group says that most of the families have suffered cases of malnutrition because of the poor feeding habits and lack of access to the markets where vegetables are sold. She says that the introduction of kitchen gardens has helped the communities in the district to access food dietary and money when they sell excesses of their produce.
Kitchen garden comprising egg plant, onions, sukuma wiki and peas belonging to Cecilia in Apeluka Village.

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Kitchen gardening is giving hope to residents of Kapelebyong District in the fight against malnutrition.

The program initiated by the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) has trained families to plant vegetables, herbs, and fruits in their backyards for the family's table.

In Kapelebyong district, a number of households in Acowa, Kapelebyong, Akoromit, Obalanga, and Okungur sub-counties now grow Sukuma wiki, eggplants, cabbages, tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables to boost their family diets. 

Vegetables are good sources of minerals, especially calcium and iron, and vitamins, principally A and C, according to nutritionists.

The kitchen gardens are an essential part of a household's subsistence base, given the difficulty of transporting fresh produce mostly from Bugisu and Sebei sub-regions. Other districts from Teso rely on the fresh foods grown from Bugisu and Sebei sub-regions for their daily meals. The vegetables are sold in Soroti central market where tracks deliver to the remotest areas of the Teso sub-region.

In the malnutrition assessments by Kapelebyong District Health Information Software 2, the district has gradually managed to reduce the high levels of severe acute malnutrition rates among the children from 351 in 2021 to 158 in 2023.

According to the 2021 report, Kapelebyong assessed 73,799 children in the sub-counties of Acowa, Kapelebyong, Akoromit, Obalanga, and Kapelebyong TC and found that 351 children had severe acute malnutrition. In Kapelebyong sub-county alone, there were 324 children with severe acute malnutrition while Acowa sub-county registered 137 cases of moderate acute malnutrition.

In 2022, the district assessed 90,576 children in the same sub counties but the number of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition dropped to 137 while those with moderate acute malnutrition were 250.

The report shows that by June 2023, the district had recorded 158 cases of severe acute malnutrition out of 34,465 children assessed in the same sub-counties.

Cecilia Amoding of Acilakide Women Farmers’ Group says that most of the families have suffered cases of malnutrition because of poor feeding habits and lack of access to the markets where vegetables are sold. She says that the introduction of kitchen gardens has helped the communities in the district to access food and money when they sell excesses of their produce.

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Teresa Okure, 47, a resident of Apeluke says that the kitchen garden has not only helped the children but also adults in the families. She notes that the kitchen garden has helped her manage a skin disease that affected her health for close to 18 years.

Okure says that after visiting several hospitals within and outside Teso for treatment of her dry-peeling skin, she was recommended to the nutritionist who advised her on good feeding and nutrition.

Ateso bite

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Emmanuel Opio, the Kapelebyong Communications Officer says that 106 of the severe acute malnutrition cases recorded this year are from Obalanga sub- county which initially had low numbers.

“When DINU came to the district, our emphasis was on Kapelebyong sub-county which had the highest number of severe acute malnutrition cases in the district. People were trained on the food diet using the kitchen garden approach. Those who grasped the skills were able to help their families," Opio said.

However, he says that Obalanga Sub County had issues of Karamojong hostilities that affected their concentration on kitchen gardening and food diet,

DINU is a government program supported by the European Union and supervised by the Office of the Prime Minister in Uganda. It’s implemented by 14 partners in 41 districts of across the sub-regions of Acholi, Lango, Karamoja, West Nile, and parts of Teso. 

The program covers interventions in three interlinked sectors of food security, nutrition, and livelihoods; infrastructure and good governance.