Nutrition and Income Generation Intervention (NIGI) for Ugandese Refugees & Host Communities

​Nutrition and income generation (NIGI) is crucial when people are affected by forced displacement: forced away from their lands to host communities that endure a huge strain on local resources, jobs and markets. Wageningen University & Research, with partners, has started the NIGI-project in the west Nile Region (Uganda) where many refugees currently live on a monotonous diet with little or no access to fresh fruit or vegetables.

In the West Nile Region of Uganda refugees are often dependant on a monotonous diet of cereals, pulses and oil which are supplied by the World Food Programme, with little or no access to fresh fruits or vegetables. The global acute malnutrition rate for children in settlement areas in Uganda is high, at 7.3 percent, with some of the highest rates found in the west Nile Region (UNHCR Sept 2018). Additionally, even though many refugees receive land with which to farm, they often lack the capacity or face challenges in accessing high quality agricultural inputs, including seed.

Our Approach

The Nutrition and Income Generation (NIGI) project seeks to provide innovative, sustainable and scalable solutions to improve the nutrition and food security for people in and around the refugee settlements in the West Nile Region. In particular to address the urgent need for available and locally produced nutritious food, particularly vegetables and fruits,

Home gardens provide an opportunity to add much needed fresh vegetables and fruits to the diet, and can support consumption of key micronutrients such as vitamin A, which may be lacking in the diet.

Increasing income and providing job opportunities are also critical challenges for developing sustainable solutions to help refugees and the communities that host them. Drawing on previous experience, the project will as also seek to support local seed business to further develop, and to ensure access to high quality seeds.

Our aims

The NIGI-project aims to contribute to achieving healthier lives and more resilient livelihoods for refugees and host communities in selected refugee hosting areas. The project aims to achieve this by improving access to, and consumption of, nutritious crops as well as by increasing income for refugees and hosts communities.

This will be achieved through the following four activity areas:

1. Household Nutrition: Refugees and host communities will be supported with capacity building on best agricultural practices for vegetable and fruit production as well as awareness raising about the importance of good nutrition. This should lead to increased access and consumption of nutrient rich foods including vegetables/ fruits/legumes/tubers and bio-fortified crops, leading to improved food security and dietary diversity at the household level.

2. Market & Business Development: Existing local seed businesses will be supported technically, leading to increased income and employment opportunities. Refugee and host entrepreneurs will also be supported to set up new local seed businesses. Farmers with larger plots of land will be supported to produce, market and sell vegetables, fruits, legumes, tubers, bio-fortified crops and seeds for commercial purposes, thereby increasing their incomes.

3. Capacities and Uptake: The project will seek to enhance human, organizational and institutional capacities to use improved agricultural and horticultural cultural practices. The project will also seek to provide training improved agricultural practices to other organizations working in the areas.

4. System Innovation: Working with researchers from Wageningen University and Research will allow the project to develop and test a set of innovative product packages, seeking to provide solutions to improve access and consumption of nutritious crops in protracted refugee situations. It is hoped that these can be used by the Government of Uganda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in both Uganda and potentially other contexts.


The NIGI project will bring together the expertise of four partners:

Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, part of WUR, works in support of sustainable and inclusive food systems in low- and middle income countries worldwide. WCDI specifically seeks to facilitates stakeholder collaboration, strengthen strategic leadership, foster lifelong learning, guide sector transformation and manage for impact. WCDI is the lead implementer of this project.

The Integrated Seed Sector Development programme in Uganda (ISSD Uganda) aims to support the development of a vibrant, pluralistic and market-oriented seed sector by supporting local seed businesses on the production and marketing pf quality declared seed. The vegetable sector is also supported through improving access to improved varieties as well as capacity development around vegetable production.

Wageningen Plant Research (WUR), unit of Applied Arable and Vegetable Research aims to contribute to innovation and knowledge development in arable farming and field production of vegetables. They develop practical innovations for both the private and the public sectors and will provide practical and hands-on training of Trainer of Trainers (ToT), building upon experience from the ISSD programme, targeting professional workers in government system, sector specialists, agency staff, and lead farmers.

East West Seed - Knowledge Transfer Foundation (EWS-KT Foundation) is involved in pre-commercial activities for the East West Seed company. By sharing knowledge on improved production practices, EWS-KT Foundation aims to increase the productivity and sustainability of smallholder farmers. This will result in more profitable and sustainable production practices as well as a creating an opportunity to develop a competitive seed market.