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Refugees Transform Kyangwali into Massive "Farmland" :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Refugees Transform Kyangwali into Massive "Farmland"

All the refugee households have established small gardens in which they have planted and maintained maize and other crops like beans, sweet potatoes, vegetables and bananas. The area is now covered in lush green gardens of the various crops, creating an agricultural scene not seen in most parts of Uganda.
Maize field of a Congolese refugee in Kyangwali refugee settlement in Hoima
Kyangwali refugee settlement in Hoima District now looks like a massive commercial farm, thanks to the hardworking Congolese refugees.

Over 35,000 Congolese refugees fleeing bloody ethnic conflict in the northeastern Ituri province of the Democratic Republic of Congo have been resettled in Kyangwali. Each refugee family is settled on a 50-by-100-foot piece of land on which to build a dwelling and grow crops or rear domestic animals.

All the refugee households have established small gardens in which they have planted and maintained maize and other crops like beans, sweet potatoes, vegetables and bananas.  The area is now covered in lush green gardens of the various crops, creating an agricultural scene not seen in most parts of Uganda.

With this season's good rains, the possibility of bumper harvests, especially of maize, in Kyangwali refugee settlement is not farfetched.

Raphael Onen, the vice mayor of Marathatu B block in the sprawling tent city, says the refugees have planted crops to augment the meager food ration provided by the World Food Programme (WFP).

The WFP supplies each refugee monthly with 11.7 kilograms of maize flour, 2.1 kilos of beans, 0.9 liters of cooking oil, 0.15 grams of salt, and 1.5 kilograms of soya. At the time Uganda Radio Network visited the settlement, the soya was not among foodstuffs being distributed.

The United Nations and other humanitarian agencies also provide the refugees with tarpaulin, blankets, mats, hoes, knives, and slashers, basins, cooking utensils like saucepan and cups and solar power kits, among other Humanitarian supplies. Onen says although they appreciate the food aid, they are inadequate even for smaller families.

Most of the refugee families are relatively larger than the average Ugandan family of five children. But, there are no pronounced symptoms of malnutrition in the children, according to URN observation.

Yonge Kiiza, a refugee from Kyomia in Djugu District of Ituri, says his crops are insufficient to feed his family of 12, adding that they have cut back on their daily food.

Esperance Biwaga, from Muganga fishing village, also in Djugu, says the food provided by WFP is different from their staple food, citing rice and cassava bread, locally known as kpanga. She says they, however, have no choice but to partake of posho, which is not a common food back home.

Refugees from fishing villages in Ituri are also finding it difficult having a meal minus fish.

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