B4FA Fellow Lominda Afedraru reports:
Mary Yangi trekked a long journey from South Sudan to Uganda’s West Nile region to settle as a refugee and, a few months later, into farming. Unlike others, who were reliant upon food rations from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the 59-year-old widow saw an opportunity when she settled in the Ngurua Village in the Arua District.
She befriended native Ugandans who were able to lend her land on which to grow maize.
“You know when one is watching news on Television or reading news on print media about the plight of refugees from South Sudan, the common thing you will see is families leading difficult life but coming from a family who treasured farming, I had to do what is right,” Yangi said.
But now, Yangi and other maize farmers in the region are struggling to deal with a fall army worm invasion. The biggest hope for controlling the pests, which eat leaves and damage ears, may be found in new GMO seed varieties under development – but with no clear path to farmers. The nation is still developing its legal framework for the commercial release of GMO seeds, in the face of opposition from anti-GMO forces. Read more