Using Climate Smart Agriculture to support the refugee community in Uganda to become food secure.

Advances in technology have not improved equity in access to food and many people cannot find adequate food to eat.

Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights states that Every human being has the right to adequate, sufficient, and healthy food, and 162 countries have committed under international law to respect, protect and ensure the human right to food.

Unfortunately, advances in technology have not improved equity in access to food and many people cannot find adequate food to eat for example in 2022, approximately 9.2% of the world's population faced hunger,29.6% of the global population (2.4 billion people) experienced Moderate or severe food insecurity while 11.3% were severely food insecure. [1]

Certain populations are even at high risk of not finding food for example a looming hunger crisis is taking hold among refugee populations in Uganda due to a confluence of two concurrent events – a drastic reduction in food relief by the World Food Program (WFP) and a drastic 14% food prices inflation according to 2022 data from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. [2] 

For refugee families living on the margins, the combination of reduced food rations and food price inflation has inevitably become an insurmountable barrier, Bringing South Sudanese, Congolese, and other refugees living in Palorinya and Bidi Bidi Refugee Settlements and other camps close to the brink of starvation forcing them to choose between food and other necessities.

According to an article in one of Uganda’s Daily Newspaper, in 2016, each refugee was receiving 14kg of maize grain, later it reduced to 8kg but as of January 2023, the food ratio has reduced to 4kg which can last the person only one week. [3]

Stromme Foundation’s intervention

In line with the long-term sustainability and development approach which advocates for equipping the refugees to be able to produce their food to supplement the ratios to make refugees food resilient and self-reliant, Stromme Foundation with support from the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Uganda is leading a consortium of three organizations namely Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Yglobal to implement the Program for Education, Advocacy, Counselling and Economic empowerment (PEACE) to empower refugees and host communities in Palorinya, Bidi bidi, and Kiryandongo refugee settlements to peacefully co-exist and collectively contribute to solving their challenges, food insecurity being one of such major problems.

Through mediation efforts of consortium partners, the refugees are supported to borrow land from host communities and they are supported to open large blocks of land for group and individual gardens, provided with improved inputs, facilitated to access technical agricultural extension services, and provided with solar-powered watering systems to grow crops which they use to supplement the food rations from World Food Program and also sell the surplus to generate highly needed financial income to meet other basic necessities of life which are no-longer provided to the refugee community.

Recognizing that host communities are also constrained by poverty and vagaries of ever increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, the PEACE project promotes partnership between the host communities and refugees; for example; when a member of the host community makes land available for use by members of the refugee community, the consortium supports his or her household with opening up land and share improved inputs which promote shared progress and strengthens mutual and peaceful co-existence.


The land provided by host communities that can support large-scale farming is usually anywhere from 5 to 10km from the camp and members of the refugee community must walk for hours to reach their gardens where they must provide menial labor to produce their crops.

For most of 2022 though, refugees were in a pendulum of droughts drying out their crops and floods washing away whatever had resisted the scorching heat. For mothers, the challenge is worse as they must work with their babies tied to their backs without anything to protect them from the sun or rain.

And as though the entire echo system is all drawn out against the refugee community, the area where the settlements are established was previously a national park; so, they have to struggle to protect their crop from the wild game who also set out to look for food oblivious that vulnerable populations have been forced to use part of their habitat to grow food, not with ill-intentions of driving the game out of the park. Yet with no sight of the end of international crises like the Ukraine conflict, coupled with a wavering commitment to reversing climate change and the springing up of new conflicts like the recent one in Sudan, the financing fortunes for humanitarian agencies are not about to improve in the wake of even higher demand for their interventions. So, the development approach, which makes refugees partners in solutions to their challenges; for example, through partnership in food production is the way to go.

Stromme Foundation would like to take food security interventions to the next level by taking to scale the pilot interventions from which lessons have been drawn on how to create partnerships between refugees and host communities, support participants through the journey of value addition, and strengthen market linkages so that they can profit from the sale of their surplus.

Joseph Walugembe

TOFI Coordinator

Stromme Foundation East Africa