Reference Date: 16-May-2014
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
Poor rains affect first season crops in some uni-modal and bi‑modal rainfall areas
Maize prices increase since January and are near-record levels in Kampala
Food security concerns persist in Karamoja region
Dry weather conditions in April affect first season crops along Lake Victoria
Planting of the 2014 first season crops was completed in March in bi‑modal rainfall areas following the timely start of the main rainy season. So far, rains have been characterized by below average amounts and significant water stress is recorded in cropping areas in central districts bordering Lake Voctoria such as Mayuge, Jinja, Iganga, Busia and Kampala districts. Other districts with notable moisture deficits are Soroti and Katakwi in the east as well as Mbarara and Bushenyi in the west. Rains resumed in May in most affected areas and are forecast to continue until the end of the season, with likely positive effects on yields of crops to be harvested in June/July.
Significant water stress in some northern areas of Karamoja region
In the mostly uni-modal Karamoja region, planting of early-maturing coarse grains (to be harvested in June/July) has been completed in March, while planting of long‑cycle crops (to be harvested by November) is still ongoing. According to satellite image analysis, crop conditions are satisfactory in most agro-pastoral areas of Abim, Napak and Moroto districts. Despite abundant rains at the beginning of May, significant water deficit still remains in some areas of Kotido and Kaabong districts, with possible negative impact on germinating crops.
Maize prices at near-record level in Kampala
As the lean season progresses, wholesale prices of maize increased substantially since the beginning of the year in most markets. In particular, maize prices increased by about 62 percent in the capital Kampala, pushed up by the high export demand from Kenya and institutional purchases, reaching near-record levels of about USD 430 per tonne, about 40 percent above the prices of April 2013. Similarly, retail prices of beans increased by 38 percent from January 2014 to April, and currently they are 10 percent higher than 12 months earlier. By contrast, retail prices of cooking bananas (matooke), an important staple, sharply declined in recent months from the record levels reached in December 2013. Despite an 11 percent increase in April, prices of matooke are currently at very low levels, about one-third of the prices recorded a year earlier.
A prolonged lean season in Karamoja region calls for sustained humanitarian assistance
Chronic food insecurity is at minimal levels in bi-modal areas. In Karamoja region, the lean season started at the beginning of February instead of March as food stocks were exhausted earlier than usual following the below-average 2013 production. Here, food security conditions of poor households are likely to worsen until early maturing maize and sorghum crops will be available for consumption in June/July. The continuing delivery of humanitarian assistance during the remaining part of the lean season is essential to avoid higher levels of food insecurity.
According to UNHCR, following the conflict which erupted from mid‑December 2014 in neighboring South Sudan, about 88
800 South Sudanese refugees entered Uganda and are hosted in camps in north‑western towns of Adjumani, Kiryandongo and Arua. Their number is expected to increase by over 100 000 during the coming months. H
umanitarian agencies are currently providing emergency food assistance.