The producers from the food communities and the Slow Food gardens in the district of Lira have founded an Earth Market in the town of Amach with the aim of raising the profile of local crops and the knowledge surrounding them.
These products are gradually disappearing and in many cases are at risk of extinction. The long civil war in northern Uganda—violent clashes between LRA rebels and government troops began in 1996, and fighting continued for 20 years, displacing 2 million people and causing thousands of civilian deaths—has led to the disappearance of many agricultural traditions and local vegetable varieties.
With the help of Slow Food Uganda, food community and food garden producers around Lira have been organizing a farmers’ market. They have particularly appreciated the fairer prices they can receive for their produce, which includes malakwang (a leafy vegetable from the Malvaceae family with a slightly acidic taste) and other leafy vegetables as well as different varieties of peanuts, sweet potatoes, millet, okra, manioc, oranges, sesame and turmeric, all fresh, seasonal and cultivated using agroecological practices. Other traditional foods can also be bought at the market, like small fried pastries called mandazi made with rice or manioc flour, dairy products, eggs and poultry.
All the products sold at the market come from communities within a radius of around 5 kilometers from the town of Amach.
With the approval of the local authorities, 35 producers have organized a management committee with five members, in which each member has a specific role in order to guarantee that the fortnightly market runs smoothly. Slow Food Uganda and the local Slow Food Youth Network also help with the management of the market. Volunteers involved in the initiative also support the work of local producers and contribute to raising awareness about an increasing number of Slow Food issues such as agroecology, biodiversity, land grabbing, GMOs, traditional gastronomy and sensory education.
“It will be an opportunity for small-scale producers and ensure that the ancient, traditional foods of the north and all of Uganda are once again bought and consumed,” said Sam Ogwang, one of the volunteers who helps run the market and is also involved in the Amach community food garden.
Lira-Amach is the third Earth Market to be launched in Uganda, after the Mukono-Wakisa Earth Market, held every other Friday in Mukono (Central region), and the Manafwa Earth Market (Eastern region, near the border with Kenya) held on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month.
In the square outside the Lira sub-county headquarters, close to the Amach Municipal Council
Every other Friday
Earth Market supported by
Fondo Beneficenza di Intesa Sanpaolo