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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 05-October-2022


  1. Poor 2022 first season cereal harvest gathered in bimodal rainfall areas

  2. Delayed and reduced 2022 harvest expected in Karamoja Region

  3. Prices of food at high levels due to tight availabilities, amid sustained local and export demand

  4. Worsening food insecurity in Karamoja Region

Poor 2022 first season harvest gathered in bimodal rainfall areas

In bimodal rainfall areas covering most of the country, the second rainy season, which normally extends from September to November, had a timely onset and precipitation received in September was well above average over most cropping areas. The abundant rains had a positive impact on the establishment and development of second season crops, to be harvested from December. According to the latest weather forecast by Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGADs) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), rains during the remainder of the cropping season are expected to be above average over the northern half of the country and below average over the southern half.

Harvesting of the 2022 first season crops was concluded in August with about a one‑month delay and crop production is estimated at 30‑50 percent below average, resulting in the third consecutive season with a reduced output. The March‑June rains were characterized by a delayed onset, erratic spatial and temporal distribution and severe rainfall deficits, especially in northern areas, which significantly constrained yields. According to FAO’s Agricultural Stress Index (ASI), as of mid‑June, severe drought conditions affected more than 85 percent of the crop land in several central, eastern and northern districts.

In July, unseasonal torrential rains in eastern and northern areas triggered landslides and flash floods that affected over 12 000 people and resulted in loss of lives, damage to infrastructure and localized crop losses.

Delayed and reduced harvest expected in Karamoja Region

In the unimodal rainfall agropastoral Karamoja Region, harvesting of 2022 crops started in September with about a one‑month delay and production is forecast at 30‑50 percent below average, leading to the fourth consecutive season with a reduced cereal production. The onset of the April‑September rainy season was delayed by up to three weeks, with a negative impact on crop planting and establishment. Rains between May and July were below average and erratic, with frequent and prolonged dry spells resulting in germination failures and crop wilting. Rains improved during the remainder of the cropping season, allowing a recovery of vegetation conditions. However, the planted area is estimated at below‑average levels as a significant number of farmers was unable to replant the failed crops due to shortage of own seeds from the poor 2021 harvest and lack of financial resources to buy seeds from the markets. In addition, insecurity disrupted agricultural activities and constrained access to fields.

The improved late season rains benefited pasture and water availability for livestock, with a positive impact on animal body condition and milk production. However, grazing patterns and livestock movements continue to be disrupted by insecurity. To safeguard animals, protected livestock holding areas (kraals) have been reintroduced, but overcrowding is often resulting in increased livestock deaths due to disease outbreaks and limited availability of veterinary services.

Prices of food at high levels due to tight availabilities, amid sustained local and export demand

The annual inflation rate, estimated at 10 percent in September 2022, has been increasing since early 2022, underpinned by increasing food and fuel prices.

Food inflation was estimated in September at 18.4 percent, compared to 5.3 percent in January. Food prices reached high levels due to tight market availabilities, amid sustained local demand, as households are mostly purchasing food from the markets due to the depletion of their own stocks caused by consecutive poor harvests. Above‑average export demand, mainly from Kenya, where crop production in 2021 and of the first season in 2022 was also reduced, and high fuel prices, underpinned by the ripple effect by the war in Ukraine, have exerted additional pressure on food prices.

In September 2022, average national prices of cassava flour, matooke cooking bananas, beans and maize flour were between 55 and 80 percent higher on a yearly basis.

Worsening food insecurity in Karamoja Region

In Karamoja Region, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, about 315 000 people (25 percent of the total population) are projected to face severe acute food insecurity between August 2022 and February 2023. This figure includes about 276 000 people in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and about 38 000 people in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) levels of acute food insecurity.

The food insecurity situation has significantly deteriorated during the last 12 months, mainly due to the following factors:

  1. Heightened insecurity and increasing number of incidents of cattle raids since mid‑2021, causing significant livestock losses, disrupting market activities and constraining incomes for pastoralists.

  2. The lingering negative impact on income‑earning opportunities of the restrictive measures introduced to curb the spread of the COVID‑19 pandemic.

  3. Consecutive poor local harvests affecting food availability, food access (through high prices) and farmers’ income.

  4. Consecutive poor harvests in neighbouring surplus‑producing bimodal rainfall areas that reduced the possibility to source cereals that are needed to fulfil the structural crop production deficit of the region.

Households in rural bimodal rainfall areas are usually food secure, with IPC Phase 1 (Minimal) acute food security conditions prevailing. Currently, however, in the Greater Northern Uganda Region, where severe crop production shortfalls occurred during the first season, a significant number of poor households is facing IPC Phase 2 (Stressed) acute food security conditions, with a minimally adequate food consumption and unable to meet some essential non‑food needs.

In urban areas, the recovery of the economy after the lifting, in January 2022, of the restrictive measures introduced to curb the spread of the COVID‑19 pandemic has been slower than expected and income‑earning opportunities are still low, especially for poor households. This, coupled with the high prices of food and essential non‑food commodities, is significantly constraining their access to food. As a result, several poor households in urban areas are facing IPC Phase 2 (Stressed) acute food security conditions.

As of end‑August 2022, the country hosted more than 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers, including about 911 000 people from South Sudan and about 453 000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and they largely rely on humanitarian assistance.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.