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FAO, EU and Government of Uganda launch new initiative to promote adaptation to climate change in vulnerable districts in Uganda

03/07/2019

The Government of Uganda, together with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Union (EU) in Uganda, have today launched a five-year project that seeks to empower rural communities in most vulnerable districts, to identify and adapt to climate change, through interventions that will also promote food security, income generation and sustainability of livelihoods.

The project, Global Climate Change Alliance Plus (GCCA+), now in its second phase (2018 – 2023) and with funding of €8 million (Ugx 33.8 billion) from the European Union, will help to scale up agricultural adaptation to climate change in Uganda, enabling rural households to become more resilient to climate change effects and food insecurity by promoting sustainable and gender transformation actions.

The GCCA+ Project will be implemented in nine districts of the central part of Uganda’s Cattle Corridor, including six previous beneficiary GCCA districts of Nakasongola, Luwero, Nakaseke, Mubende, Kiboga and Sembabule and three new adjacent, vulnerable districts of Kalungu, Gomba, Lyantonde.

The new phase of the Project builds upon the successful implementation of the first phase of the GCCA project, implemented from 2012 to 2017, which helped to make Uganda one of the leading countries in Africa undertaking climate change adaptation.

Uganda remains one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change especially in the areas like the cattle corridor that is characterized by erratic rains, flooding, frequent and prolonged droughts, inhabited by communities dependent on rain-fed crop and livestock production systems. The poor and the marginalized are the most affected because of limited productive assets.

"Climate change seriously impacts our joint efforts towards sustainable development and is a clear and present danger to the world we know. We have an individual and joint responsibility to respond and to address this global challenge," said European Union Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Attilio Pacifici. "Actions are urgently needed to preserve and expand key ecosystems such as forests, to use natural resources sustainably and to promote ecosystem services. The action we launch today is complementary to other EU supported initiatives in the sectors of transport and energy infrastructure and agriculture, which are all implemented with the goal of ensuring inclusive and sustainable social, economic and environmental development."

Some of the interventions in Phase 1 included construction of 15 valley tanks and rehabilitation of five old ones, formation of 168 Farmer Field Schools, with about 4,000 farmer households, establishment of about 700 hectares of bioenergy plantations to enhance sustainable energy production and formation of 400 farmer groups with over 10,000 farmer households. Phase 1 also witnessed the establishment of 380 plots to demonstrate and promote field adaptation practices for coffee.

GCCA+ will augment these milestones targeting more households and more people. This Phase will witness the establishment of six valley tanks that will cater for about 12,000 livestock, distribution of 5,000 energy saving cook stoves, and installation of 300 small scale irrigation schemes benefiting 25,000 people in the nine beneficiary districts, among many other climate change adaptation interventions.

While officiating at the launch of the Project, the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Honourable Vincent Ssempijja called upon local political and cultural leaders to become ambassadors for climate change mitigation and adaptation in their localities by carrying out the basic recommended best practices in agriculture.

“Climate change is real and agriculture is the most affected sector; if our negative actions persist, we will not be able to feed our people,” he said. ”I therefore call upon all leaders to become role models in their areas and advocate for better practices that can stall and address climate change”, he added.

The Minister commended researchers under the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) for developing improved crop technologies such as high yielding, early maturing and fortified crops such like iron-rich beans. These, he said are critical for food security in the face of changing climate.

Speaking during the launch of the project at Kalungu District Headquarters, the FAO Representative in Uganda, Antonio Querido, emphasized the need for Uganda to adapt to and mitigate climate change impacts, because with no action “in the coming decades, climate change will severely affect food production and have other catastrophic impacts depending on our choices as individuals and governments."

“For Uganda, the next ten years are crucial to make a difference through effective, inclusive and efficient climate change actions. Building the resilience of people and the natural resources base that are adaptive to climate change while leaving no one behind through an integrated response is crucial if we are to succeed in our current efforts,” he said.

Querido further revealed that FAO will be working with Government of Uganda in the next five years to strengthen national and district knowledge and skills to support agriculture adaption and community resilience to climate change in 33 districts, with financial resources of about USD30 million.

 

BACKGROUND

Achievements of the first phase of the GCCA project

This new phase of the project builds on the achievements of the GCCA phase 1 project, notably;

 A national climate change resource centre constructed housing the climate change department in the ministry of water and environment which serves as an information sharing platform to support climate change education and as a hub for resource managers, other government institutions and the public to understand and respond to climate change challenges with reliable information and communication flow.

Climate change research and demonstration strengthened in four regional research centres in the National Agricultural Research Organization, through the provision of information technology equipment, and the establishment of greenhouses, rainwater harvesting and drip and solar-powered irrigation systems.

Climate change integrated into Uganda National Development Plan II (2015/16 to 2019/20). And eight sectoral policies in Agriculture, Water and Environment reviewed for the integration of climate change issues.

15 valley tanks constructed, and five old ones rehabilitated.

168 Farmer Field Schools established and functional, with a total of 4 172 farmer households.

About 700 hectares of commercial fuelwood plantations set up. Bioenergy plantations and improved charcoal production technologies established.

408 farmer groups comprising over 10 254 farmer households formed; and 380 demonstration plots established to directly promote field adaptation practices for coffee in three of the six target districts.

Uganda remains one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change especially in the areas like the cattle corridor, a broad zone stretching from south-western to north-eastern Uganda, characterized by erratic rains, flooding and frequent and prolonged droughts inhabited, by communities fully dependent on rain-fed crop and rangeland-based livestock production on communal or public grazing areas. The poor and the marginalized are the most affected because of limited productive assets.

The current efforts to improve community resilience to climate change in Uganda has been obstructed by significant, persisting gender gaps in agriculture where 77% of the workforce are women, contributing as much as 70-75% of agricultural production output and yet only 28% own agriculture land while less than 20 per cent have decision-making power on the production benefits and outcomes.

Ensuring equal access for women to productive resources, climate-smart and labour-saving technologies and practices is crucial to enhance the sustainability of agriculture, achieve food security and nutrition, eradicate poverty and build the resilience of rural households and communities to climate change. The transition from GCCA to GCCA+ follows the EU global programme development paradigm that includes a redirection of priorities, governance structure and operational support to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (in particular goal 13 related to climate change), and the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris COP21 outcomes.