By Ritah Mukasa
Fidele Ndayizamba 42 was a successful electrician in Burundi before tribal crashes pushed him and his wife to come to Uganda in 2015.
They first stayed at Kabazana reception center for months before being settled in Ruhoko village from where they moved to New Hope village in Nakivale refugee settlement in Insigiro district.
He looked around for jobs and failed.
He decided to engage in vegetable growing courtesy of Youth Initiative for Community Empowerment (YICE) Uganda, an organization that promotes the use of regenerative farming techniques to conserve the environment while promoting food security and healthy living.
They help the families to set up gardens and grow spinach, ntula, eggplants, sukumawiki, spring onions, dodo, cherry tomatoes, beetroot and carrots among others. Those in small spaces use sacks and containers.
Ndayizamba started by growing Sukuma wiki, spinach and eggplants, but this year, he decided to specialize in growing exotic amaranth, commonly known as dodo.
He says that dodo grows fast and has a ready market.
His garden spans 20x20ft. He maintains it with his wife with the help of YICE trainers and an agronomist.
“We entirely depend on this garden to survive. Apart from supplying us with vegetables, I also earn sh8, 000 weekly from it,” he says.
The couple is looking for bigger land elsewhere to grow more vegetables because they have a ready market.
However, Ndayizamba decries water scarcity which makes it hard to maintain the garden during the dry season. They move for two hours to fetch water.
Aimable Amanagakiza, a trainer with YICE says, they encourage and support farmers, mostly those in swampy areas to dig ponds and harvest water during the rainy season.