Reference Date: 22-August-2013
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Harvesting of 2013 first season crops is complete and production prospects are near average
A long dry spell in May/June affected cereal crops in some central cropping areas
Unfavourable prospects for crop production in Karamoja region
Maize prices stabilize in most markets since early August
Overall food security is satisfactory, but deteriorate in Karamoja region
Land preparation is underway for planting the 2013 second season grains in bimodal rainfall areas – covering most parts of the country. Harvesting of the second season crop normally starts from November/December.
A long dry spell affected yields of the 2013 first season crops
In bi-modal rainfall areas, harvesting of the 2013 first season crops is complete and production is estimated at near average levels. Following a timely and favourable start of the March-to-June rainy season, with above average amounts received until the first dekad of May, rains receded in most cropping areas of the country, resulting in an early onset of the dry season. The long dry spell in May/June affected especially yields of late planted crops in central areas that were at flowering/grain setting stage. By contrast, production of early planted crops in southern and south-western areas, harvested during the dry spell, is estimated at average levels, having benefitted from previous abundant rainfall amounts.
Below average cereal output expected in Karamoja
In uni-modal rainfall agro-pastoral and pastoral areas of Karamoja region, the April-to-October rainy season started on time, improving availability of grazing resources and inducing farmers to increase planted area. However, between late-May and mid-June, a long dry spell has significantly affected germinating/flowering sorghum and maize crops, especially in the highlands of Kaabong, Moroto and Kotido districts prompting re-plantings. Although rains resumed in July and continued in August in some areas, crop growth has already been widely affected by the dry spell. Accordingly, the crop harvest from September/October is expected at well below average levels in most areas.
Maize prices stabilize in August
Prices of maize increased in July in Kampala and Lira wholesale markets by 7 and 10 percent, respectively, reflecting concerns about the overall 2013 first season crop production. Subsequently, prices started to level off at the beginning of August in both markets as the bulk of the new harvest increased local supply. Maize prices are expected to decline in the coming months despite the sustained export demand from neighboring countries, mainly Kenya, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In Kampala wholesale market, cassava flour was sold in August at UGX 800 per kg, about 33 percent below the price of one year earlier.
Worsening food security conditions in Karamoja
Acute food insecurity is minimal in most bi-modal rainfall areas which benefitted from a series of good harvests during the last few years that replenished stocks and provided additional income through sales of crops to surplus producing farmers. However, food insecurity is worsening in pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of Karamoja region, following two years of below average production that only partially replenished stocks. Here, the 2013 lean season has been two/three months longer than usual, starting last January with the early exhaustion of 2012 food stocks and will continue until the beginning of September, one month later than usual, when the green harvest is expected to start. Access to food markets for most poor households is currently very limited due to their low purchasing power and the scarcity of assets, mainly livestock, still available to be sold. Consequently, most food needs of poor households are mainly met through food assistance.
According to a recent multi-agency analysis, about 392 500 people are considered in “crisis” food security conditions (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, IPC, phase 3). They are essentially concentrated in Karamoja and Acholi regions plus about 25 000 people in Western and Elgon regions that were affected by displacements and flooding last May.