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Hope Instead of Hunger: Harvesting Cassava in Uganda
In Karamoja, Uganda, “akoro” is a word commonly heard. It means “hunger”—what this region of Uganda is known for, and what its residents struggle with every day. To combat the area’s chronic hunger problem, Action Against Hunger began a food security and livelihoods project with local farmers. Now, another term is bringing hope to the area: “eloma bon,” the local name for cassava, a nutritious, drought-resistant crop that is a staple food for millions of people throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Transforming Rajab Angolere’s livelihood
Before he began harvesting cassava, Rajab Angolere and his family were constantly hungry. Though they are residents of Kokipurat village, they needed to move often to find new sources of food. In 2011, we gave Rajab 10 bags of cassava, which he planted on an acre of land. Soon, he expanded one acre to five, and last year was able to plant 10 acres of cassava plant—all from that first batch of plants he received from us.
This year, Rajab has harvested more than six tons of cassava so far, with more to come—enough to sustain him through the two-month hunger gap that used to devastate his family. He’s also started selling cassava at the local market. With the money he earns, he’s expanding his farmland, buying household necessities, and sending his children to school.
Feeding Mrs. Adungo Paul’s family
The sole caregiver for her seven children, Mrs. Adungo Paul used to struggle to make ends meet. With the help of our food security and livelihoods teams, she began growing cassava. Now, she happily invites our team members back to her home so they can see how much of the crop she’s harvested: more than six tons already. And she’s planted more that should be ready to harvest by September.
With her current harvest, Mrs. Adungo tells us that her family is no longer dependent on food aid—they can now afford to buy food when they need it, and a good portion of her harvest will sustain her family through the lean season. She plans to sell the rest of her harvest, and use the money she earns to pay for her children to go to school.
These are just two of the many success stories we’re hearing from families throughout the region of Karamoja. Through our cassava cultivation program, we’re helping families like Rajab’s and Mrs. Adungo’s regain their self-sufficiency, create a brighter future for their children, and make “akoro” a thing of the past in Uganda.