By Steven Enatu
The community of Amuria District has appreciated Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) for enhancing food and nutrition security, income and health.
They raised this during the field visits by minister for Teso Affairs Hon. Dr. Celement Ongalo Obote to the “BRENU” sites in Amuria yesterday, 28th April 2022.
BRENU project is part of the bigger Government of Uganda, European Union funded Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) being spearheaded by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), a not-for-profit institution that generates Agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation.
The project focuses on more than 51,250 small holder farmer households in Lango sub region and two districts of Amuria and Kapelebyong in Teso sub region with 24 new cooperatives who are being facilitated to register. Of the 24, 5 are in Kapelebyong and 5 in Amuria.
Emmanuel Olupot, one of the beneficiaries of Building Resilience to Enhance Food and Nutrition Security, Incomes and Health in Northern Uganda (BENU) project from Abarilela Sub County said that the program has enabled them learn new modern ways of farming, savings and proper dieting for good health.
“This organization has helped us greatly on proper harvest and post-harvest management. They have also taught our young girls on proper hygiene keeping” he said.
BRENU through Volunteers Effort to Development Concern (VEDCO) introduced the Village Savings and Loan Associations methodology to increase saving and credit financial services in community livelihood groups (CLGs).
Joyce Mary Akiror from Apopong United farmers group that focuses on soya bean growing appreciated the organization for the agricultural good practices and supporting them with machines that process soya beans.
“In our group we specialize in Soya bean growing and all this was made possible through this program,” she said.
In an effort to enhance value addition to crops like cassava and Soya bean, IITA together with partner Kilimo Trust procured Postharvest Handling (PHH) and processing technologies to small holder farmers in the seven target districts in Lango sub region including Amuria and Kapelebyong.
Philemon Opara said that through the program, they are now able to keep their food crops clean and also practice good post-harvest handling which has been a challenge leading to Post-harvest losses .
“They did a lot for us, we were skilled in proper planting of Groundnuts in lines and beans. They also helped us health wise by deworming children,” he narrated.
BRENU’s objective is to enhance household food and nutrition security, increase household incomes, improve maternal and child nutrition and health in Northern Uganda that covers Two Districts of Teso; Kapelebyong and Amuria.
Perez Muchunguzi, the Project Manager with the IITA led project “BRENU” said that the Action is being undertaken by a consortium of six partner organizations through three Results areas which are interrelated and contributing to the overall goal.
“To consolidate stability in Northern Uganda, eradicate poverty and under-nutrition and strengthen the foundations for sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development,” he said.
Kokas Erusu, the Secretary Finance Amuria District who was representing the District chairperson commended BENU project saying it has done tremendous work in supplementing government programs.
Meanwhile, the Minister for Teso Affairs, Hon. Dr. Clement Kenneth Ongalo-Obote encouraged the beneficiaries to utilize the programs and stand on their own so that other people are also enrolled to benefit.
“It pleases us to come and find out that the money we supported you with has changed your life. But you should not be over dependent on these programs, after you have been supported and empowered, you leave for us” he stressed, adding that even the baby reaches a point that they remove him or her from breast feeding.
IITA leads the implementation of BRENU together with a consortium of five partners: (i) Voluntary Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO), (ii) Kilimo Trust (KT), (iii) Rikolto International, (iv) Bioversity International and (v) Ernest Cook Ultrasound Research and Education Institute (ECUREI).