Displaced Farmers Reclaim Land in Northern Uganda
In collaboration with the Norwegian Refugee Council, the IRC is training 135 village chiefs, who were the primary arbiters of land disputes in Kitgum Province before the outbreak of war. The chiefs are trained in land laws and tenure laws and in conflict resolution techniques.
The training emphasizes out-of-court mediation over legal proceedings, which can be costly, susceptible to corruption and take years to conclude.
“Traditionally in northern Uganda, much land was passed from generation to generation without official documentation,” said David Ben Okello, the IRC’s economic development manager in Uganda. “Peace makes northern Uganda an attractive investment opportunity but opportunistic people are taking advantage of the displacement and lack of formal system of land tenure to grab large, productive plots.”
When the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army chased people off their land, they also robbed people of their traditional way of life. Northern Ugandans who once relied on cattle for their livelihood now depend on agriculture. The IRC is helping these new farmers improve productivity and is also setting up agricultural collectives that can help farmers increase their bargaining power
“We are helping people make the best of a situation in which they are now without their animals. We want to establish as strong an agricultural base as possible,” said Delu Dalil, the IRC’s economic development officer in northern Uganda.