Two weeks ago, the group distributed relief food items worth over 39 million shillings to over 3,000 starving persons in the area. Tom Okello, the chairperson of Iteso Welfare Association, says they expect to raise about 50 million shillings during the second campaign that shall be used to purchase seeds and some relief items for the affected community.
Dubbed 'Teso Food Appeal', the campaign is coordinated by Iteso Welfare Association (IWA), an umbrella group of Iteso in Diaspora.
A report released early this year by the Office of the Prime Minister indicated that at least 10.9 million Ugandans were facing acute food insecurity and warned of a looming disaster should the first planting season rains fail.
Teso was listed as one of the most food-insecure sub-regions. The others were Karamoja, Bukedi, the cattle corridor, parts of Busoga, Lango, Acholi, West Nile and parts of central Buganda where at least 1.6 million people were already battling acute food shortages.
The worrying trend emanated from the prolonged drought that affected the country in 2015 and part of 2016 leading to poor or no crop harvests in 2016. As a result, communities in Bukedea, Katakwi, Kumi, Ngora, Soroti, Amuria, and Serere in Teso sub region were reported to be headed for a famine situation.
This is the second time the group is soliciting for support from their friends and well-wishers.
Previously, IWA had projected to fundraise about 60 million Shillings to secure up to 20 metric tons of relief food items but they realised only about 39 million shillings.
The money was used to purchase about 10 metric tonnes of relief food items that were distributed to more than 3,000 starving people; mainly the elderly, persons living with HIV and AIDS and child-headed households in the area.
The beneficiaries were drawn from the districts of Kumi, Ngora, Serere, Soroti, Katakwi, Amuria, Kaberamaido, Bukedea and some parts of Tororo.
Tom Okello, chairperson of IWA says the decision to conduct the second phase of fundraising resulted from their failure to realise their target. He notes that whereas the group failed to realise its initial target, they are determined to continue mobilising.
Okello says they expect to raise about 50 million shillings during the second campaign that shall be used to purchase seeds and some relief items for the affected community.
The group intends to support the starving communities with fast maturing seeds which do not require much rain.
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During the first planting season, Teso sub region registered poor crop harvests emanating from inadequate rain and drought.
George Okitoi, a 54-year-old resident of Kachumbala Sub County in Bukedea district welcomes the move by the group saying they are still in dire need for food items. Okitoi says all his beans planted during the first season dried up after they were hit by drought.
Margaret Amongin, 51, a resident of Arapai Sub County in Soroti district is upbeat about fast-maturing seeds after she failed to harvest her groundnuts she planted during the first rain season.