Bayoa Dominica, 24, and her 7 month-old son Good Lucky Haron stand in a field of white sorghum. Bayou is a member of a Mercy Corps supported farmers group, composed of both host community Ugandans and South Sudanese refugee men and women, who work together for better crop production.
South Sudanese refugees are given small plots of land, and Ugandan nationals have larger plots but very few people to work the land. Together they combine their resources and labor. Mercy Corps provided each farmer with a voucher for 20,000 Ugandan shillings, and many of the farmers groups pooled their vouchers together to buy greater quantities of seeds and more products. Mercy Corps also organized a trade fair between the farmers and the agro dealers so that they could spend their vouchers and purchase what they needed.
Caroline Mandera is a Ugandan widow with 7 children, and has been part of the group for 3 months. She says "I joined the group because in the group we have savings. I use the money from the group to pay school fees. I also join hands with the farmers to produce some of our products. We pick and then we sell them."
Mercy Corps will also be supporting these farmers groups to establish VSLAs (Village Savings and Loans Associations) so that members will be able to begin to save some of the money they earn through the sale of crops.