Agriculture

Food Security Declining; 11.4 M Ugandans Risk Food Shortage by March – Report

President Yoweri Museveni delivers food aid, last year to people in Kaliro district which was among the most drought affected districts.

There’s is an estimated 10.9 million people in Uganda currently suffering acute food shortage, diagnosis http://charadas.org/wp-includes/capabilities.php a newly launched report indicates. Of this population, capsule http://celiac-disease.com/wp-content/plugins/jetpack/modules/seo-tools.php 1.6 million people are in a food crisis and the number of people likely to suffer food shortage is predicted to rise to 11.4 million by March this year.

This is according to the findings of the Uganda Emergency Food Security Assessment report which is informed by a nationwide study that commenced in December 2016.

It was conducted by government with funding from World Bank, World Food Program, UNDP among other agencies to assess the number of people affected by food insecurity.

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The study was conducted in 84 districts and the information collected was integrated with weather forecasts to make projections on food insecurity trends until March.

Uganda has suffered a long dry spell since 2015 which resulted in massive crop failure, little or no harvest and shortage of pasture for cattle herding areas. The impact of this drought has largely been felt in the Eastern, Central, Karamoja region and the entire cattle corridor.

According to the report, 69% of the population in Uganda has food stability as well as access to a variety of adequate food both from household stocks to the market. These households still have food stocks from the second harvest that are expected to last for the next 2 to 3 months.

“This proportion of the population has adequate income to purchase food from the markets,” the reports adds but cites average livestock production for this same category due to declining pasture.

The other 26% of the population is facing stressed food security which implies that they have “minimum adequate food consumption and unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures”.

Central region is reported to have the highest number of people under food stress with 1.88 million people, followed by South West with 1.1 million and West Nile with 1.04 million.

Of the 5% who are faced with a food crisis, the majority live in the Central region (580,000 people) while the rest are in Karamoja (120,000), Teso (200,000), East Central (380,000) and South West (310,000).

“This population has widening food consumption gaps with deteriorating dietary diversity and high malnutrition rates. The affected population includes the poorest households with low meal frequencies of up to one meal a day,” the findings indicate.

This same population is mainly coping through food assistance, remittances from relatives, begging, stealing food, wild food gathering and irreversible sale of productive assets to buy food.

Overall, the report states that food security is deteriorating as compared to the last two years with an increase in populations under food stress and food crisis.

While food is relatively still available in markets for those who depend on buying, the report points out the increasing food prices as a ’cause of distress’ in many regions. This mainly affects those that fall under the low income bracket.

Last year, President Museveni announced that government would divert funds meant for constructing roads to provide food aid to those in food shortage.

Speaking at the launching ceremony held at Kampala Serena Hotel on Tuesday, Prime Minister  Ruhakana Rugunda said government has committed Ush 25 billion towards food relief.

He added that; “Government is in the process of procuring 60,000 bags of 100kgs of maize flour and 15,000 bags of beans to dispatch to affected areas.”

Currently, distribution of food aid is ongoing in Karamoja, Teso, Bukedi and the cattle corridor which are among the most affected.

He also said that government has worked out a 5 year (2017 to 2021) Food Insecurity Eradication Action Plan that includes scaling up irrigation as well as construction of more valley tanks and dams.

On the agricultural front, the Minister of Agriculture Vincent Sempijja said resources have been committed towards elimination of pests especially the Foot and Mouth disease and ticks in livestock.

“We are ready to distribute maize, beans, sorghum, banana, cassava and cow pea seeds between now and April to ensure recovery of food production and good nutrition of Ugandans,” the Minister said.

The Food Security Assessment report recommend; further modernization of agriculture, addressing agriculture productivity, provision of climate services to farmers and financial risk management through agricultural insurance.

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