The agriculture ministry has committed 3,356 acres of land in Alebtong district to boost food production.
Former Aloi Ongom citrus farm measuring 723 acres and Adero Quarantine land (2,633) were handed over to Alebtong prison by state minister for agriculture Fred Kyakulaga.
Aloi Ongom land is in Aloi sub-county, while Adero Quarantine is in Awei. Recently, Cabinet took a decision to carry out immediate short and medium-term strategies to produce food, where the prison was given a mandate to produce 50,000 acres of food to avert food shortage in the country.
The decision followed looming hunger reported in Uganda, especially in the Karamoja sub-region. The most affected were children and the elderly.
The Alebtong district chairperson, David Kennedy Odongo, said he received complaints from the community cultivating the same land that their crops had been destroyed since the land had been given to the prisons.
He said although the land is owned by the Government, the community had been using it for food production for decades.
Crops allegedly razed
Odongo said during the handover of the land, the minister directed the prisons to immediately plant quick-maturing crops.
“I have received complaints from the community using the land that their crops were razed yet during the handover, the minister advised them to harvest their crops and leave the land,” he said.
According to sources, the fi eld was cleared and crops planted. They are germinating.
Odongo said he has tasked all the LC1 chairpersons with compiling the names of farmers whose crops were destroyed and forward them to his office.
The claims that crops were destroyed have since sparked off an outburst, with a section of people claiming compensation for them.
“We know that it is government land, but they should compensate us because what they did was wrong,” a resident who declined to be named said.