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Ugandan Jews' agricultural project is sweet success

The Putti village in eastern Uganda will soon sell their water-melons, onions, peppers and tomatoes to shop-keepers in the nearby town of Mbale

    A Ugandan Jewish community has successfully cultivated four different types of crops, ready to be sold to market.

    The Putti village in eastern Uganda will soon sell their water melons, onions, peppers and tomatoes to shop-keepers in the nearby town of Mbale.

    Hotels and restaurants in the area have also shown a keen interest in buying from the Puttis.

    Three charities, the US-registered Putti Village Assistance Org (PVAO) and World Jewish Relief, working with Orthodox Kahal Kadosh Sh'erit Yisrael (KKSY), all helped the Puttis with the agricultural project.

    WJR has previously limited its involvement to providing funds to support the Puttis during severe famines.

    This year, however, WJR decided to helping the Puttis become self-sufficient. 

    PVAO, for their part, bought up local agricultural land in and around the village, which was then cultivated with the help of WJR.

    WJR worked out how many villagers would be needed to work on the land and then, with the help of Ros Eisen, the London based secretary of PVAO, employed a local Ugandan agronomist to train those involved.

    It was decided that initially they should grow 4 different crops. The crops selected were not mainstream, therefore could command a higher price.

    All those involved in working the land will each be given a small salary, a proportion of the profits made. This figure will depend on the amount of hours each man or woman has worked.

    Ms Eisen and WJR are planning to go back to Putti in July to see how the crops are selling and to decide what needs to be planted next.

    Ekaterina Mitiaev, World Jewish Relief’s Head of Impact and Livelihoods, said: “Across the world, World Jewish Relief uses its expertise to enable vulnerable communities to become self-sufficient. We are delighted to be working with the Putti Jewish community in Uganda. This project uses our experience helping Jews in Eastern Europe find jobs as well as our agricultural work in Rwanda supporting people who suffered unimaginable cruelty during the Rwandan genocide.”

     

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