FEWS Uganda Food Security Watch Jun - Conditions improve in IDP areas and Karamoja

Situation Report
Originally published

Peace negotiations between the Government of Uganda and Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) resumed in April, improving northern Uganda's still unpredictable civil security situation. About 1.4 million people remain displaced in camps where humanitarian conditions are poor and moderate to high levels of food insecurity prevail. Internally displaced persons (IDPs) depend on humanitarian assistance for the bulk of their food and non food needs. IDPs are increasingly able to access agricultural land and have been able to cultivate crops this year. Despite a late start to the rainy season, the recently established rains have improved harvest prospects. Nevertheless, to normalize food production and stabilize food security, stable civil security, good land access and agricultural inputs will be needed, in addition to good weather conditions over the next three to four seasons (at least until end of 2008).

About 500,000 drought-affected persons in Karamoja Region will receive food aid through the end of June 2007, when a minor harvest of vegetables and pulses begins. Farmers began cultivating crops (cereals and pulses) following the onset of the rains in May. Normal rains this year are required to ensure households produce adequate food to mitigate the effects of a poor season last year. Meanwhile, civil security in Karamoja has improved, increasing household mobility and land access. As the availability of pasture and water improves in the region, livestock have begun returning to homesteads from dry season grazing areas, increasing household access to milk and livestock products. Households with livestock can sell animals and use the proceeds to access food from markets. Livestock/cereal terms of trade remain stable, allowing these households adequate food. An assessment by WFP, the government and NGOs of crop and food security conditions will be carried out to determine whether food aid is still needed in the region, despite these improvements in food security.

A highly contagious disease, Pest des Petits Ruminants (PPR), affecting sheep and goats in Karamoja is still widespread and may have crossed into neighboring districts from northern Karamoja via commercial livestock sales and the movement of small ruminants. The disease has reduced the size of herds, directly affecting households' food security by reducing their sources of income and food. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has not officially declared the disease in the region and has yet to institute controls or mobilize resources for vaccination programs.

Throughout the country, relatively dry conditions that have characterized the first half of the rainy season since its late start in bimodal areas persisted through most of April and early May, marking a slow onset and establishment of the season in most of the country. This may negatively affected cereal production in central, eastern and western Uganda. These crops need favorable rainfall through June to ensure adequate harvests, which begin in late June and early July.