Many farmers across northern Uganda are returning to their villages after two decades of civil strife and displacement. Reintegrating back home and rebuilding their livelihoods presents huge challenges. FAO Uganda seeks to strengthen households’ resilience by improving farming and animal husbandry practices and strengthening extension services so that vulnerable families and communities (farmers and pastoralists) can produce more food, earn more money and respond better to disasters.
FAO Uganda is also increasing access to quality inputs, improving market linkages and facilitating better opportunities for the sale of agricultural surplus, thereby increasing household income. Hand in hand with other UN partners and aligning with Government efforts, FAO actions in the area strive to identify and defuse conflict drivers and consolidate peace.
Adapting to climate change
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for roughly 77 percent of Ugandans. Climate change and environmental challenges, such as erratic rainfall, prolonged dry spells and flooding, pose a threat to crop and livestock productivity. To help farmers face these challenges, FAO Uganda is supporting the production of drought-tolerant crops, constructing infrastructure for water and soil conservation, training farmers on sustainable farming and animal husbandry practices and facilitating community planning. Support to early warning systems and information management, and strengthening local institutions is also helping farmers be more prepared for climate-related shocks.
Reducing outbreaks of livestock diseases
Livestock disease outbreaks are common in parts of the country, like Karamoja, where farmers lack the inputs, infrastructure and veterinary support needed. FAO Uganda is supporting vaccination campaigns, equipping community animal health workers with tools, drugs and skills, and strengthening local disease surveillance. This means agropastoral and pastoral communities can resume livestock production, producing enough to feed their families and selling the surplus for extra income.
Learning new skills together
The farmer field school approach, widely adopted by FAO Uganda, is very effective for farmers to improve production and learn about post-harvest handling and farming-as-a-business – from processing their goods to marketing them more effectively. The schools also encourage farmers to join village loan and savings schemes to increase their access to credit. The approach places particular emphasis on women and youth; it also serves as an excellent way to raise awareness on nutrition, gender, HIV/AIDS and climate change. At the same time, the farmer field schools bring together communities that were separated by years of civil conflict. This can support reconciliation, rebuild trust and consolidate peace.