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Country Briefs

  Uganda

Reference Date: 28-February-2018

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Satisfactory outcome of 2017 second season harvest in bi-modal rainfall areas

  2. Delayed harvest and reduced maize production in Karamoja Region due to erratic rainfall and Fall Armyworm attacks

  3. Aggregate 2017 cereal production estimated at 3.6 million tonnes, 5 percent up from 2016 and slightly above average of previous five years

  4. Below-average pasture and water availability in pastoral areas due to early cessation of seasonal rainfall and high temperatures

  5. Prices of maize declining in recent months

  6. Food security situation improved in 2017, with food insecure caseload declining from 1.6 million in February to 0.4 million in November

  7. As of end-January 2018, the number of refugees from South Sudan estimated at about 1 million

  8. Refugee influx from Democratic Republic of Congo accelerated since December 2017 due to escalation of conflict

Satisfactory 2017 second season harvest gathered in bi-modal rainfall areas

In bi­modal rainfall areas, harvesting of 2017 second season crops was concluded in January and production is estimated at average to above-average levels. The September-December 2017 rainy season had an early onset in August, which induced farmers to anticipate plantings. Above-average rains in September and October and near-average precipitations in November supported crop establishment and development. Although rains had an early cessation in early December, the impact on yields was minimal as most crops had already reached maturity and were ready for harvest. Fall Armyworm infestations were reported in mid-2017 in 60 of the country’s 112 districts. However, crop losses are reported to be less significant than originally expected due to increased pest management and prevention measures.

Delayed harvest and reduced maize production in Karamoja Region

In the northeastern uni‑modal rainfall Karamoja Region, the 2017 harvest was concluded in October 2017, one month later than normal. The April-September 2017 rainy season was characterized by a delayed onset in late April, followed by average precipitations in May and by a prolonged dry spell in June. Subsequently, abundant rains from July to September offset the moisture deficits and lifted crop prospects. While sorghum production is estimated at average levels, the output of maize, more vulnerable to moisture stress and Fall Armyworm attacks, is estimated at below-average levels.

National cereal production for 2017 is estimated at about 3.6 million tonnes, 5 percent up from 2016 and slightly above the average of the previous five years.

Below-average pasture and water availability in pastoral areas affecting livestock

In pastoral areas of the cattle corridor, water and pasture availability are currently below average due to the early cessation of seasonal rains and above-average temperatures and evapotranspiration. As a result, livestock body conditions are expected to below average until the onset of the 2018 first rainy season in March.

Maize prices declining in recent months

Prices of maize, after having seasonally increased by 5-20 percent in August and September, declined by 20-30 percent between October 2017 and January 2018, as the release of stock by traders and newly-harvested second season crops increased supplies. Prices of maize in January were about 40 percent lower than the high levels of 12 months earlier, which were supported by a reduced 2016 crop production due to dry weather, and around their levels of 24 months earlier.

Despite overall improvements in 2017, pockets of food insecurity persist in northern areas

In November 2017, about 440 000 people were estimated to be severely food insecure (IPC Phase 3: “Crisis”), about 70 percent less than the estimate of 1.6 million in February 2017. The improvement is mainly due to overall more favourable weather conditions in 2017 compared to 2016, which benefited crop and livestock production. The areas still affected by severe food insecurity are the northern and northeastern subregions of West Nile, Acholi, Teso and Karamoja, due to soil degradation and low agricultural productivity, less favourable weather conditions and the influx of South Sudanese refugees straining the limited local resources.

As of end-January 2018, the country hosts about 1.4 million refugees, including about 1 million people from South Sudan, mainly sheltering in camps in northern Yumbe, Moyo, Arua, Adjumani and Lamwo districts. Refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are estimated at about 252 000 and mainly reside in camps in southwestern Hoima and Kyegegwa districts. While the arrival rate of South Sudanese refugees has declined in recent months, the refugee influx from the Democratic Republic of the Congo has accelerated since mid-December, with about 34 000 new arrivals being registered in 2018, following the escalation of conflict in Ituri and North Kivu provinces.

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