JUNE 24, 2010: WFP Stops Relief Food Distribution

WFP Stops Relief Food Distribution
SOURCE: The New Vision
By Chris Ocowun
The World Food Programme (WFP) will stop distributing relief food to about 100,000 individuals in Acholi next month, the deputy country director, Hakan Tongul, has said.

However, Tongul said the UN agency would continue supporting about 32,000 malnourished children.

"We shall now concentrate on supporting the returning population to enable them recover and become productive again. That way, communities will absorb the extremely vulnerable as they did traditionally," Tongul said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said WFP, in partnership with the Government and the Food and Agriculture (FAO) Organisation, would set up modern warehouses, construct feeder roads and support market information systems for farmers to boost food production.

"WFP is installing a 6,000 metric tonne maize cleaning and drying equipment in a warehouse in Gulu town. This will encourage quality maize production and boost incomes of the formerly displaced people," Tongul said.

The WFP phased out relief food distributions to northern Uganda last year. However, it continued supporting about 100,000 vulnerable people. But after July, this group of people will be left at the mercy of their relatives.

Tongul said the UN agency supports tree planting, fruit, cassava and rice growing and fish farming in Acholi, Lango and Teso regions, which were affected by the LRA insurgency.

WFP, working closely with FAO, also helps communities open up land for farming, in addition to marketing and adding value to their produce.

He said the body would continue educating people in Gulu and Amuru districts on the impact of hunger on school-going children and encourage them to send their young ones to school with packed lunch.

"The initiative is an expansion of WFP efforts to raise awareness on hunger and learning. It will provide transitional support in communities where WFP has phased out school meals," Tongul said.

Charles Uma, the chairman of Gulu district disaster management committee, said it was agreed during a partner meeting that relief food distribution to the extremely vulnerable individuals should stop this month.