Environmental Issues Threaten Food Supply in East Africa

Vol 15. Issue 9, Leduc - Wetaskwin Pipestone Flyer

Leduc community invited to hear Ugandan and Kenyan aid workers discuss how they are overcoming environmental issues in East Africa with the support of Canadian Foodgrains Bank

LEDUC, AB – Food production in Uganda is on a downward spiral—and one of the reasons is changes in the environment.

That’s the view of Sam Ocung, who works with the Pentecostal Assemblies of God (PAG) in Uganda, and who has also implemented several Foodgrains Bank-funded food projects.

"Alternating drought and floods have caused famine over the past few years," says Ocung, adding that unpredictable rainfall is a real threat for Ugandan farmers.

While things are not looking great, Ocung and others like him are finding solutions to the agricultural challenges in their countries – and helping poor famers at the same time.

Ocung will be speaking in Leduc, Alberta on March 11th, at 7:00 P.M. at Telford House, 4907 - 46 Street. The Leduc and District Growing Project, which raised almost $150,000 last year, is one way that work like Ocung’s is financed. Last year was the 12th year that Leduc area farmers have contributed to the Foodgrains Bank, by donating the proceeds of 280-acres of canola and wheat. The field, located off of highway 2A, is maintained by a core committee of eight volunteers and supported by a broad network of farmers and local businesses.

People from the Leduc area are invited to hear Ocung speak about the kinds of work that their efforts are funding – and how their contributions are helping hungry people around the world. Joining Ocung in Leduc are Joshua Mukuysa, and Rodah Mutio Silu, who both work with Utooni Development Organization in Kenya, which focuses on improving water security and crop production in Kenya through sand dams, a new technology that is improving agriculture in arid areas in Africa.

While in Canada, Ocung will share about how he and his team have been documenting indigenous knowledge about environmental issues, and how they are using this information—in conjunction with sources from the scientific community—to help farmers deal with unpredictable weather.

"We are prioritizing hazards, looking for appropriate adaptation options, and determining what to do if risks to our current projects become unmanageable," he says.

He is also looking for ways to move beyond providing food aid to vulnerable communities, which has been the mainstay of PAG responses for the past four years.

"These relief projects are designed to provide food to communities affected by drought and flood," he says, "but we recognize that relief interventions are not a sustainable approach to ending hunger in these communities."

Ocung says that his team is now looking for ways to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into their community development projects.

"We expect this integration to make our community development projects more resilient to disasters, and help communities produce sufficient food," he says.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank is a partnership of 15 churches and church-based agencies working to end hunger in developing countries. For more information, go to www.foodgrainsbank.ca

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