If farmed properly, South Sudan would produce enough food for itself and surrounding countries too. But long-term conflict means that this has not been prioritised and most food is currently imported. However, Life Gospel Ministries, led in Uganda by Thomas Lubari, is working alongside AID to change this.
On arrival in Uganda, South Sudanese refugees receive a small plot of land from the government. Thomas steps in to train them using a sustainable farming technique called pfumvudza. These refugees are eventually able to provide for themselves using their new skills.
There are so many reasons to thank God for how the agriculture work has progressed. The project started last year with 100 farmers but has more than doubled since then – 210 refugee farmers now participate, planting crops including maize, beans, groundnuts and onions. Some have even planted tomatoes! Thomas has 14 ‘extension workers’ who assist in training the refugees. The current good news is that some of the farmers are ready to begin harvesting their crops while those who planted maize will start in July.
Furthermore, a significant loan was given through AID to provide enough money for Thomas to buy a mill. This means that produce that he buys from the farmers to sell at a later date can be stored more easily. All of this provision from God reminds us of Paul’s words in his letter to the Romans: ‘He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?’
God is faithful and we can see His hand at work through Thomas and others. However, the project nevertheless faces challenges. Some of the farmers struggle to access enough mulch for their plots due to a scarcity of grass or resistance from locals who do not let refugees cut grass for this purpose. Thomas faces difficulties in ensuring the sustainability of the project because it is not allowed to offer loans to the farmers – the Ugandan government insists that any services to refugees be absolutely free.
Please pray for the future of the agriculture project – that God would continue to work through Thomas and his team to equip these displaced people to provide for themselves. Pray for an end to conflict so that one day, they would be able to return home to put into practice what they have learnt in South Sudan and pass on their skills to others.