Northern Uganda Food Security Project (DERO)
The Northern Uganda Food Security Project (DERO) was
implemented by the NGO COVOL Uganda from 1997 to 1999.
During this initial pilot phase, DERO was an integrated
community-based activity reinforcing local food security
through an Integrated Production and Marketing Program (IPAM)
in partnership with a network of over 10,000 farmers organised
into more than 300 community-based farming groups across
the districts of Lira (Otuke County), Pader (Agago County)
and Labwor (Abim District).
With the return of displaced farmers to their rural communities
of origin, COVOL is re-establishing DERO as a means of increasing
the productivity of newly-returned farming communities. During
the 2008 first planting season, starting with the original
project stakeholders, COVOL will expand its area of operations
to include Aruu County (Pader District), and the districts
of Amuria and Katakwi.
Under the first phase of DERO, three county-based resource
centers were established, serving as training platforms,
and commercial ‘food banks’ where staple crops
were purchased in season and stored for sale back to the
community during the annual ‘hungry season’ when
food stocks are scarce and prices their highest. The DERO
resource centers provided quality seed and agricultural tools
at cost, as well as simple veterinary medications and vaccinations.
At the farm level, DERO extensionists carried out a series
of workshops on subjects related to cultivation and post-harvest
processing, drying and storage, and provided animal traction
training to local oxen to facilitate increased production.
Applied research was carried out on local and improved varieties
of cultivated food crops, as well as wild foods and semi-domesticated
traditional food plants.