Farmer groups increase agricultural productivity for food security and better livelihoods

Members of a Farmer group spray pests in their group garden in Palabek settlement, Lamwo district.


Atimango Group is a Farmers’ and Savings group of South Sudanese refugees in Palabek settlement, Lamwo district. Unlike thousands of refugees in Uganda’s settlements, these 30 members own 10 acres of farmland. The members who once only owned a 30 x 30 metre plot of land each for accommodation acquired farm land from the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) with funds from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM).

With the vast land acquired and a farming startup kit of seeds and farming tools from LWF, the group ventured in commercial agriculture in April 2018, planting food crops that are highly demanded in Palabek refugee settlement.

“We chose food crops to harvest enough to supplement our food ratio that was never enough and because we were rest assured of a ready market for the yields from our community.”  Explains Agnes Kasara, a member of Atimango Farmers and Savings Group who adds that each refugee receives a 30 x 30 metre plot for accommodation.

From the first harvest in November, 2018, the Farmers’ Group harvested abundantly, sold and earned over UGX 2,000,000 that they shared among themselves and also saved some in their Village Savings and Loan Association.


Members of a VSLA during a savings session in Northern Uganda. Each member has access to quick loans for business and sustainable development.


In the last harvest season, the Farmer’s group harvested 17 sacks of groundnuts, 3 sacks of simsim, and 2 sacks of pigeon peas. They intend to share some food and sell off the rest for an income.

The Group hopes to cash in at least UGX 4,000,000 from the harvest sales that they intend to invest in a Village Savings Group (VSLA) to provide members access to quick loans to meet their financial needs and to also invest in small businesses.

“In December, 2018 we started saving in a VSLA after receiving a training by LWF in saving skills and financial management VSLA management and financial knowledge. In December, 2018 the first saving cycle ended, we shared the UGX 6,790,000 among ourselves.” Says Sabina Alum, the Group Chairperson. She continues to say that members have managed to invest in small businesses like poultry, piggery among others.

With the income from agriculture, small businesses established and the savings associations, Kasara says “Life feels better and more comfortable, starvation and malnourishment which were common in majority of the households are reducing.” “Families engaging in livelihoods can now afford their basic needs without external support.”


A member of Farmer Group weeds a maize garden in Rwamwanja refugee settlement. The group was supported by LWF with funds from PRM.


“I received UGX 300,000 from the VSLA which I invested in a food vending business. I now earn at least UGX 100,000 that I use to provide for my family and also save. I have also managed to buy 1 goat and 10 ducks so I can venture in animal farming.” Says 32-year-old Rebecca Achayo a member of Atimango Farmers and Saving Group. This mother with 6 dependants hopes to invest in a retail shop and a pair of oxen with the savings from the next saving cycle.

With the income generating activities, members of the Atimango Farmers’ Group earn a stable income, enjoy better and sustainable livelihoods. “Our lives have totally changed for the better, we look better and healthy. Our family get all the basic needs they need like enough food, good education, clothes among others.” Adds Ronald Oteka, a Secretary of Atimango Farmers’ and Saving Group.

The 30 members of Atimango Group are among the 858 refugees and host community members in 30 Farming and VSLA groups supported with funds from the United States Government in Lamwo district. Majority of the groups supported have established commercial farms and small businesses for food security, improved nutrition, income as well as sustainable livelihoods.