Food Security for the IDPs in Northern Uganda

Case Studies
Agriculture, Food Security, Nutrition
North East Chili Producers Association (NECPA)
Publication Dates:
July, 2013
Content Formats:

This is one of 50 Harvesting Nutrition project case studies. Harvesting Nutrition was a contest held in 2012 and 2013 that showcased active projects working to improve the impact of agriculture and/or food security on nutrition outcomes. Co-sponsors were SecureNutrition, Save the Children UK, and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Learn More.

Project Description:  

Objective 1:  To conduct a baseline survey to ascertain the food security status in Lango sub-region.  This was done in all three sub-counties where NECPA operates.
Objective 2: To provide basic agricultural skills/knowledge and improved agronomic practices, technologies and tools to beneficiary households using the farmer field school (FFS) methodology as a delivery strategy.
Objective 3: To provide basic skills for staff and lead farmers, peace promoter and peer educators.  Trainings were conducted in pyscho-social support, entrepreneurship skills, and peace building.
Objective 4: To restore the hope and dignity of the war victims through psycho-social counseling services and referrals.

Impact of project:

The most important learning aspect of this project was the ability of the community to reduce food insecurity and the household level, and their rate of adaptation to new technologies for backyard gardening, the farmer field school (FFS) methodology, and village savings and loan associations, all of which have helped to reduce the high rate of vulnerability, especially for women in agriculture, and reduce malnutrition among children under 5 years of age. Additionally, the following achievements have been recorded:

  • 15,000 kg of maize seeds harvested for participating farmer groups who later harvested and yielded up to 150,000 kg of maize grains;
  • 5,000 soya bean seeds procured and distributed to farmers with total output of 750,000 kg of grain;
  • 135 acres of coffee planted and the coffee  will be ready for harvest in 2013 crop season;
  • 15 banana and coffee multiplication centers planted and established; 70,000 kg  of African Birds Eye Chili produced in Agali,Iceme and Ngai  and sold, providing household incomes of about 315,000,000 for farmers;
  • 6 major contracts signed for chili and banana suckers and all the supply was done; 
  • 1,300 households have three hot meals a day.

Monitoring using the Vulnerability Assessment Tools a (VAT) and The Needs Assessment Tools (NAT) indicates that:

  • 3,000 households reduced their food and income insecurity by at least 20%, this was made possible due to introduction of non-traditional crops such as bananas and coffee, in addition to traditional crops and Chili. At least farmers have enough food to last 7 months as opposed to 5 months which was the case before the interventions in the selected Sub-counties;
  • Major joint activities were conducted: (1) agricultural show at Jinja NECPA and AFSRT represented the cluster (2) lobbying and advocacy training in Abim (3) agri-finance marketplace event in Lira (4) strategic planning (5) disaster risk management training (6) joint proposal development for 2013-2015 and (7) strengthening farmer entrepreneurship learning event wherein NECPA was the lead partner and others participated in Pader;
  • 120 community based trainers were trained in various skills and later trained all members of beneficiary groups;
  • 3 marketing committees were formed, trained and doing bulk marketing for beneficiaries; 
  • 2,300 households (77 farmer groups) were actively participating in all the project activities;
  • 3 VSLAs were established, one in each project area (Iceme, Ngai and Agali sub-counties​).

Why this project is a Good Practice example:

This project is a good example because of the benefits and effects it has brought to the community from being food insecure to at least have two hot nutritious meals per day, and also have food to last seven months as opposed to none before.

Impact Evaluation:

Impact evaluation completed

Lessons Learned:

  • During the design of our intervention, we had planned to reach up to 1,500 households. We started by conducting vulnerability assessments followed by needs assessments. After the analysis we realized that the children were highly affected.  We identified 1,500 target beneficiaries however the challenge was that their level of vulnerability was overwhelming.  We worked together with the community and individual households to search for solutions and the best way forward, since the resources were limited.
  • The project team learned that for any activity to succeed, the involvement of beneficiaries from planning and implementation is important. Because of the active participation of all beneficiaries in the participatory planning process and monitoring, NECPA received overwhelming support from production to marketing of the agricultural produce.
  • At the outset of implementation, the community did not play their role, as they were used to receiving hand-outs. However, after a number of home visits, community dialogues, and trainings, the community was able to adopt the farmer field school (FFS) methodology and also initiated a community savings program, which culminated in the Village Saves and Loan Association.  
  • The nutritional dialogues and trainings increased awareness of the community on nutrition and hence many households began backyard gardens for nutritional supplements or food.
  • The Joint Radio talk shows NECPA together with AFSART negotiated with buyers to purchase produce from farmers who did not have a market for epuripur sorghum. Markets sold to the farmers centre, linking them to available markets from Farmers Service Uganda LTD.
  • The indigenous knowledge of the farmers was used fully in planning the activities because they gave advice for the timing for various crops, with the exception of chili which is a non- traditional crop.

Success and reasons:

  • NECPA was the only Organisation in Uganda that was recognized for community economic empowerment; this was due to the success of the implementation of the food security project with support from ICCO.
  • During implementation, the project was able to realize most of their milestones because of fair climatic conditions which improved the crop yields and farmers realized good harvest for both food and cash crops especially Chili which earned farmers in Iceme, Ngai and Agali up to UGX 285,000,000 (two hundred eighty five million only) with average household income nine hundred thousand (900,000).   
  • Multiplication of maize, soya beans and bananas was very successfully and there are ready seeds and suckers for planting in the coming season for at least 1,200 households which will be sold on revolving basis.

Failure and reasons:

  • Beans and groundnuts did not perform well with very low yield and the little harvested was affected by too much rain during harvest season especially drying time, as there were limited sunrays to dry.
  • High commodity costs, especially for fuel, affected the overall implementation of the project, including monitoring and trainings even stationery and other office supplies.
  • Delay by Umeme to install electricity affected the operation of the chick hatching activity.


Funders: Interchurch organization for development cooperation (ICCO) 

Primary Contact: Acham Hellen Ketty Elungat 

Country: Uganda Project 

Dates: 2010 to present 

Interventions: Assess the context at the local level, Target the vulnerable and improve equity, Facilitate production diversification, Expand markets and market access for vulnerable groups, Incorporate nutrition promotion and education, 

Target Population: Women farmers, Rural farmers, 

Project Stage: Ongoing activities 

Geographic Coverage: State/Province