Agricultural project for nodding families in Acholi draws mixed reactions
Posted Friday, January 4 2013 at 02:00
The government’s provision of farming land to families affected by the nodding disease in Acholi sub-region has attracted mixed reactions from the public, with many describing it as ineffective.
Under the arrangement, Kitgum, Lamwo, Pader and Gulu districts were each supposed to receive at least Shs6 million for growing food crops. However, not all the districts received the funds in July and August last year. In Kitgum, only 20 families, out of the more than 400 affected families from Akwang and Amida sub-counties, benefited.
The district chairperson, Mr Luke Nyeko, said each household had an acre of land ploughed for simsim as food for the children. “We think by this year, we shall include the project in our budget to benefit all the affected families because the support was inadequate,” Mr Nyeko said on Thursday.
The Office of the Prime Minister had been distributing food to nodding syndrome treatment centres in Kitgum Hospital, Atanga and Palabek Kal health centres.
However, parents of the affected children asked the government for farmland to produce their own food.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr Asuman Lukwago, had earlier said district task forces should prioritise the feeding component for the children in their work plans to supplement the interventions from the partner ministries.
In Pader District, Angagura and Awere sub-counties, the most affected areas, have not yet received the assistance.
The Awere Sub-county chairperson, Mr Charles Odongtoo, said they only got information about the project. “Six families were selected but since then, no gardens have been tilled,” he said, adding that the project could have been cancelled due to the current dry season which cannot support food production.
Lamwo LC5 chairperson Mathew Akiya said 289 families benefited. Efforts to get a comment from the Agriculture ministry over the matter were futile. Earlier, an official from the ministry had said the project was still under a pilot scheme.
The nodding disease has affected at least 5,000 children since 2010.