UN agriculture chief says Uganda 'leading example' of sustainable refugee response

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva in Uganda. Vegetable and crop seeds are provided to refugees to kick-start their food production. Photo: FAO/Anita Tibasaaga

30 August 2017 – The head of the United Nations agriculture agency today called for greater funding for a sustainable response to the refugee crisis in Uganda, as he concluded a visit to the country's north hosting those crossing the border for safety.

“Uganda's refugee model is an example to the world,” said UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva in a news release, noting that the country allocates land to refugees for shelter and cultivation so that they can provide food for themselves rather than rely on food aid.

“It is vital that funds be mobilized to support this effort […] so that refugees and their host communities can have a real opportunity to overcome hunger and poverty. Uganda is giving not only food and land but hope,” he added.

Uganda is host to the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. Since July last year, more than one million South Sudanese refugees have crossed into the country.

The refugees are predominantly women and young people and come from farming or livestock herding communities.

Mr. Graziano da Silva visited two refugee settlements, Agojo and Mungula 1, in Adjumani district near Uganda's border with South Sudan.

At Agojo, the FAO Director-General helped distribute crop and vegetable seeds to more than 1,000 refugee and host community households. At Mungula 1, he inaugurated a micro-irrigation project that will provide the refugee and host community households with a reliable source of water for their crops and animals.

Prior to visiting the settlements, Mr. Graziano da Silva met with Uganda's Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda.

Under a new response plan, FAO is intensifying its efforts in providing livelihood assistance to refugees and host communities. The plan focuses on food and livestock production, nutrition, protecting the environment and enhanced technical support to the Government.

The Director-General's visit comes after UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on the donor community in June to strengthen their support to the refugee response. Uganda requires around $2 billion annually for 2017-2020 to address refugee needs, and donors have so far pledged around $358 million.


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