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Jan 2012 26

Three Weeks of Organic Farming Training! All the way next to South Sudan…

Posted in News

By Brianna Kilcullen

We’ve kicked off our new year with a huge organic farming project on the Uganda-South Sudan border.  We’re partnering with trainers from Gulu University to train twelve of our new groups, located in the dry climate of Lamwo district, and the training is partially sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Uganda.

After graduating 17 groups in 2011, GRG began work with 21 new groups in 2012.  Over half of these new groups reside in the district of Lamwo, located along the Ugandan-South Sudanese border.  In Lamwo, the climate is arid and presents numerous challenges for community livelihoods.  Despite the challenges, GRG has been warmly welcomed by the groups and took part in dancing festivities in Ayu Alalii, one of the Sub-Counties that GRG is going to be working in.

“Organic farming makes our crops grow faster and gives people a higher yield.”  - said Elizabeth, one of the Lamwo group members.

Our organic farming initiative in Lamwo will provide groups with holistic and sustainable farming techniques.  GRG trainers will focus on teaching group members about crops that will flourish in the arid climate, how to make fertilizers out of locally available plants and ingredients and will also be encouraging members to learn how to compost and find alternatives to burning foliage on crop land.

One of GRG’s group members, Charles, expressed his opinion on organic farming saying, “practicing organic farming works very well and costs us nothing to make or practice.”

A significant challenge for groups after cultivation and production is identifying a market for selling their produce.  GRG staff looks forward to the challenge of assisting groups to find markets to sell these products.

Creating market access will allow groups in Lamwo to create target markets such as investors from South Sudan.  In addition to market access, groups also suffer from many other serious concerns. For example, the current escalation of conflict along the South Sudan border could potentially lead to an increase in refugees migrating to Uganda, which has the potential to create conflict concerning land encroachment.  The climate, harsh conditions and population increase has the potential to cause drought and subsequently famine. Despite these difficulties, GRG is excited and willing to problem solve with the Lamwo communities to help mitigate current issues and prevent future conflicts. Group members with positive mindsets such as Elizabeth who believe in GRG’s vision and the benefits of organic farming make facing these challenges easier because it is a constructed team effort.

Contributions to projects in this region will ensure that group members move towards a better way of life.

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