Monday, 4 April 2016

Meet The Modern Farmer From Uganda

Lanyero Family Plot
Gulu Region, Northern Uganda

Christine Lanyero was only a teenager in 1987 when Joseph Kony’s brutal Lord’s Resistance Army occupied the Gulu-region village where her family farmed. After the LRA killed Lanyero’s father, she walked nearly 250 miles to a refugee camp outside the city of Kampala.

But in August of 2014, the camp’s land was sold for development. With financial aid from a U.S.-based nonprofit, Lanyero—along with 31 other women and their families—journeyed north to their ancestral lands, which are once again considered safe.

Lanyero, her husband, and her five children moved into a new mud-brick and thatch hut steps away from where she grew up, and she planted maize, groundnuts, cassava, and soybeans. Like the majority of women in Northern Uganda, Lanyero digs food (dig is the local word for farm) to feed her household, and often walks long distances to sell surplus at regional markets. Every day, she carries jerricans over a mile each way to the nearest borehole to gather water. “It is difficult to start over and make a life again,” she says. “This has not been easy. The digging is challenging, and the market is far away. Everything is far away.”

Christine is just an example of a growing trend of modern farmers who seem to be characterized by the sheer will to grow food against the odds of environment, social hindrances and lack of access to land either due to cost or land grab challenges. Christine's story shows us that there is a way and more importantly she isn't alone; there are many people in her situation and many individuals and organizations that have dedicated their time and effort to help work together and solve these problems.

Do you know any modern farmers around you that would benefit from support and a network to help improve their farming methods and improve quality of life, please contact me and lets see what we can all achieve together. Lets keep growing.

The nonprofit After the Bulldozers—founded by a 16-year-old girl in Danville, California—helped Lanyero and more than 200 others.