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Reference Date: 28-October-2015


  1. In bi-modal rainfall areas, planting operations of 2015 second season crops are still ongoing due to early season dryness

  2. Below-average crop production expected in Karamoja region

  3. Maize prices sharply increasing and at high levels

  4. Serious food security situation in the Karamoja region

Dry conditions at start of 2015 second season

In some bi-modal rainfall areas, land preparation and planting of 2015 second season crops, to be harvested by December, are still underway due to early season dryness. Cumulative precipitation in August and September was 30-40 percent below-average in several cropping areas (see Map 1), with the most severe moisture deficits recorded in central and western parts (Amolatar, Apac, Arua, Gulu, Lira, Nebbi districts). Under the forecast of a strong El Niño episode, which is likely to continue into the first months of next year, the September - December rains are expected at above-average levels, reducing current rainfall deficits and thus benefiting crops. However, exceptionally heavy rains could increase the risk of flash floods in low-lying areas, negatively affecting standing crops, livestock and destroying rural infrastructures.

Earlier in the year, harvesting of the 2015 first season crops, normally completed by end-July, was concluded two to three weeks late in August. After a late onset of seasonal rains at the end of March, rainfall was erratic, with well above-average amounts in most northern areas and a dry spell in the second and third dekad of May in central and southern areas, which negatively impacted on crop development and yields (see Map 2).

Unfavourable prospects for crops to be harvested from November in eastern Karamoja region

In the mostly uni-modal Karamoja region, harvesting of long‑cycle crops, which normally starts in November, will be delayed by more than one month and cereal crop production is forecast at below-average levels. Dry spells throughout the growing period required some replanting and had a severe impact on crop development, particularly in Kaabong, Moroto and Kotido districts.

Maize prices sharply increasing and at high levels

After having peaked in April/May, prices of maize seasonally declined in all monitored markets by 25-39 percent between May and August as the first season harvest increased supplies. Subsequently, prices surged, increasing by 34-62 percent between August and October. Normal seasonal patterns were compounded by concerns over the performance of the second season harvest and by increased export demand from neighbouring Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, and South Sudan. As a result from the recent spikes, current maize prices are 43-67 percent higher than 12 months earlier. In September 2015, prices of important staples like beans and cassava flour were generally stable while, those of cooking bananas (matooke) increased in Kampala wholesale market by 10 percent compared to August.

Serious food security situation in Karamoja region

The country is generally food secure with chronic food insecurity at minimal levels in most bi-modal rainfall areas. Conversely, in Karamoja region, the food security situation is serious, due to the early depletion of food stocks from a reduced 2014 harvest and a high prevalence of livestock diseases. According to the multi-agency Food Security and Nutrition Assessment carried out in June 2015, 67 percent of households had no food stocks and the stocks of the remaining 33 percent were not expected to last more than four to five weeks from the time of the assessment. In addition, as of May 2015, prices of sorghum and maize were at the same high levels of 12 months earlier but higher than 24 months earlier, while prices of beans were at their highest levels since January 2013. As a result of reduced availabilities and access constrains due to high market prices, the food security situation is precarious. According the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), valid for the period from June to September 2015, about 295 000 people (30 percent of the population) are in acute food insecurity and livelihood crisis and in need of urgent assistance (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis” and IPC Phase 4: “Emergency”). The whole Karamoja region was classified in overall Phase 3 (“Crisis”), with the most affected areas being Kaabong, Kotido, Napak and Moroto districts. The precarious current food security situation, coupled with the delayed harvest and the unfavourable prospects for the 2015 crops, raises serious concerns and calls for sustained humanitarian assistance.

The number of South Sudanese refugees that entered Uganda following the conflict which erupted from 15 December 2014 in South Sudan, was estimated by UNHCR at about 170 000 in early October; about 80 percent of them are hosted in camps in northwestern towns of Adjutant and Kiryandongo. In addition, as of early October, Uganda hosts about 14 000 Burundians which left the country since early 2015 due to the election-related violence; about 75 percent of them are hosted in the Nakivale camp, located in the southwestern Isingiro district.

Relevant links:
 As of Jul 2015, included in the list of "Countries Requiring External Assistance for Food"
 Cereal Supply/Demand Balance Sheet
 Food Price Data and Analysis Tool
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
 Crop and Food Security Assessment Mission (CFSAM) Reports & Special Alerts: 2014, 2008, 2006, 1997
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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