Refugees Transform Kyangwali into Massive "Farmland"

2024 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
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.

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.

 

About the author

David Rupiny
In his own words, David Rupiny says, "I am literally a self-trained journalist with over 12 years of experience. Add the formative, student days then I can trace my journalism roots to 1988 when as a fresher in Ordinary Level I used to report for The Giraffe News at St Aloysius College Nyapea in northern Uganda.


In addition to URN for which I have worked for five years now, I have had stints at Radio Paidha, Radio Pacis, Nile FM and KFM. I have also contributed stories for The Crusader, The New Vision and The Monitor. I have also been a contributor for international news organisations like the BBC and Institute for War and Peace Reporting. I am also a local stringer for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.


I am also a media entrepreneur. I founded The West Niler newspaper and now runs Rainbow Media Corporation (Rainbow Radio 88.2 FM in Nebbi). My areas of interest are conflict and peacebuilding, business, climate change, health and children and young people, among others."