IRC Helps Boost Economic Recovery In Uganda
The war between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has left the countryside of northern Uganda, once referred to as the country's breadbasket, barren and its population aid-dependent and unproductive.
The IRC's country director in Uganda, Julien Schopp, says that the conflict has severed many traditional links between agricultural producers and buyers.
"The producer is often unable to reach the market place and has no defense against predatory buyers due to the lack of farmers' cooperatives or other organized groups," Schopp explains.
The two-year program, which is a continuation of an earlier IRC project restoring the links between cotton producers and buyers in northern Uganda, will launch a labor survey to identify priority areas of investment in the private sector, as well as provide business training for farmers. The IRC will also help form farmers' groups and provide necessary links with private companies. The program will focus on the northern district of Lira and Kitgum.
As peace talks between LRA and the Ugandan government continue, thousands of displaced people from northern Uganda are expected to return home to neglected villages that have largely been out of humanitarian reach.
"This project will contribute to the sustainability of the return and reintegration by providing people with essential opportunities for self-reliance," Schopp says.