By Obbo Yusuf
Karenga districts has commissioned 17 fish ponds as the first ever Ponds in the Karamoja sub region.
The initiative has been a success with support of World Food Program WFP and Andre Foods International AFI. The fish ponds are expected to benefit over 100 households under asset creation and livelihood project-ACL aimed at addressing poverty and malnutrition issues in the region
Over the years, Karamoja region has been subject to recurrent droughts and sporadic floods resulting in the erosion of local people’s resilience and coping capacities, now by looking at restoring the autonomy of the vulnerable Karamojong communities, Andre Foods International (AFI) in partnership with World Food Programme (WFP) and Karenga district local government are shifting the focus to nutrition-sensitive Asset Creation,
Resilience and AMP ; Livelihood interventions with an objective to change lives using a food systems approach.
Looking on aquaculture as a one way to change lives in the region world food program and Andre foods international have adopted fish farming in Karenga district.
Linkage of fish farming to the tourism sector: AFI intends to take advantage of the vibrant tourism sector in Karenga by promoting the aquaculture sites as tourist attractions and market fish through the hospitality industry. This will propel agro tourism which is a priority area in the NPDIII while further diversifying livelihood opportunities for the fish farmers.
According to Muyimbwa Edward a nutritionist With Andre foods international says ,The Asset creation and livelihood (ACL) program that has come on board with many programs like promoting Aquaculture in the green belts will enable many vulnerable communities change lives at household level now starting with Nakelio parish in Lobalangiti sub county Karenga district where beneficiaries were grouped and each group consists of 25 members ,each of the 4 formed groups Nakelio united fish & vegetable farmers has been given 5 ponds,Lokapuke East given 4 ponds, Didit given 4 ponds and Nawara nyoris fish and vegetable farmers given also 4 ponds totaling to 17 ponds that have been commissioned today .Edward adds on “fish is a rich source of proteins omega acids and other essential nutrients like calcium ,zinc and once consumed can improve on the nutrition status of the people in the community and most importantly the malnourished individuals ’’
On Friday, during the commissioning of the 17 fish ponds a total of 27300 fingerlings were distributed to the 4 farmer groups in Nakelio parish for stocking. Women in Karamoja have limited control over household resources and do not make decisions on resource allocation at the household level. This undermines their ability to nourish/provide for themselves, their children, and entire households. AFI will deliberately target inclusion of women in all activities, design interventions in a gender sensitive manner and develop gender-specific community sensitization messages targeting beneficiaries, household heads, opinion leaders, and elders (clan heads).so in this program women take 60% in the project participation
The Uganda National Household Survey (UBOS 2016/17) ranked the Karamoja region in North Eastern Uganda as one of the poorest areas with the highest malnutrition rates. A disproportionate number (61 percent) of its 1.2 million people live in absolute poverty.
The district vice chairperson for karenga district Hon Magret Nalemu during the commissioning time has urged the beneficiaries of the program to always guard the ponds well and avoid negligence that may affect their project since its aiming at supporting them fight poverty and malnutrition in their homes .
However some of the beneficiaries have remained crying to world food program and Andre foods international to help them handle challenges of trapping the predators that may attack their stocked fingerlings