YUMBE. The refugees in Bidibidi settlement have urged the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to consider allocating for them land for agriculture.

The refugees made the appeal following the recent decision to reduce their food ration by 30 per cent.

Before the reduction of the food ration, OPM had allocated land for the refugees to boost agriculture but they refused to utilise it.

But the current situation has now forced the refugees to start putting OPM under pressure to allocate for them land to carry out agricultural activities.

In a recent seed fair organised by Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in Bidibidi zone five settlement, Mr Emmanuel Juma, the refugee welfare council (RWC3) chairperson for zone five said refugees don't have enough land for agriculture.

"We have many livelihood programs supported by the implementing partners but lack of land affects the implementation of such programs in the settlement," he said.

Juma said it would be good if OPM looks for more land for the refugees to practice agriculture as most of them only depend on the 30m by 30m land allocated for settlement.

Mr Michael Nabugere, the settlement commandant under OPM said the host community has been generous in supporting the refugees with land.

He said in 2017, OPM allocated land for the refugees outside the settlement but they were not willing to take it up.

"We have acquired more than 500 acres additional land for refugees specifically for agriculture but for Bidibidi zone five settlement in Ariwa sub-county, we haven't finished the process so, the refugees should be patient," he said.

He said the challenge they are facing at the moment is lack of seeds, farm implements and other agricultural inputs that can help the refugees to get a good harvest including technical support by the extension workers.

Mr Yassin Taban, the Yumbe district chairperson appreciated the landlords for offering land for the refugees.

He encouraged the refugees to build good relationship with the host community so that they can be helped by the landlords.

"I want the landlords who have extra land to link up with OPM and the sub-county authority to give such pieces of land to refugees. The refugees are here for short time and such pieces of land given can't be taken for good," Taban assured the locals.

He said such support brings unity and social cohesion among the refugees and the host community.