The 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.