The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2010: Uganda

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2010: Uganda
Nov 2009

The security situation continues to normalize across the north of the Republic of Uganda despite the uncertain fate of the peace process. Almost 80 percent of 1.8 million IDPs have been able to return home.

However, progress in this area has been met with serious difficulties in others. Recurrent dry spells, crop failures and animal disease outbreaks have combined to batter livelihoods and bring widespread food insecurity.

Returnees face an uncertain situation, settling into areas where infrastructure and basic services are virtually absent, and food production is heavily constrained by a lack of agricultural inputs, extension services, manpower capacity and land disputes. An estimated 160 000 households in Karamoja subregion, 35 000 in Acholi, and 25 000 in Teso are especially vulnerable.

As a result of the evolving situation, the Government of the Republic of Uganda and its development partners have gradually begun to change focus from purely emergency humanitarian action to an approach that includes recovery, rehabilitation and development as well.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Difficulties in Karamoja subregion are acute: more than 60 percent of the population is classified as food insecure, with a further 25 to 30 percent vulnerable according to the IPC. Failures of four consecutive harvests in the subregion have exhausted seed stocks and left many unable to sustain themselves through cultivation. High food prices and outbreaks of livestock disease have also sharply restricted households’ purchasing power. Together, these factors have resulted in a near total reliance on external food aid for much of the population.

Animal disease outbreaks have spread from Karamoja to neighbouring Teso subregion, which has also been seriously affected by erratic rains during critical plant-development stages. In addition, Teso is still feeling the effects of flooding in 2007, cumulative poor agriculture seasons in 2008 and armed violence brought by Karimojong raids. The results have been poor harvests, reduced food stocks, a protracted hunger gap and even reports of starvation.

Food and income security has also been undermined by unpredictable weather patterns in Acholi. The subregion’s difficulties have been compounded by a loss of farming skills among the population, lack of production assets and deteriorating infrastructure. A severe dry spell in the preliminary agricultural season of 2009, which caused 40 to 60 percent of crops to fail, has contributed to Acholi receiving an IPC phase 3 classification (indicating an acute food and livelihood crisis). Should the situation continue to deteriorate, the subregion will be pushed into a humanitarian emergency or famine.

FAO response

Against a background of consecutive crop failures and disease outbreaks, FAO aims to put in place a series of emergency mitigation measures across northern Uganda. In Karamoja, FAO and its partners plan to assist 150 000 households with mass livestock vaccinations, the provision of drought-tolerant crop varieties, the improvement of food storage facilities, and sensitization on climate change adaptation measures. In Teso, FAO aims to assist 6 000 resettling farming households with vaccination campaigns, drought‑tolerant and early maturing crop variety inputs, ox‑ploughs to increase land opening, and support to improve household food storage facilities. In Acholi, FAO plans to provide 20 000 people with drought-tolerant and early maturing crop varieties, ox‑ploughs, improved household food storage facilities and livestock vaccinations.

FAO and its partners further aim to provide training to 15 000 households in Karamoja in integrated water harvest management and livestock and crop production. FAO also aims to kick-start food production and assist households to reduce their dependency on food assistance, through the provision of training to 12 000 households in Acholi and through 200 farmer field school groups in Teso.

In its capacity as a co-lead agency for the Food Security and Agricultural Livelihoods Cluster, FAO has helped to formulate a comprehensive humanitarian action plan in Uganda. FAO aims to provide cluster members with good, timely information to improve the quality, efficiency, targeting and impact of recovery and development projects.