Food security and livelihoods in areas affected by desert locusts September 2020


This report outlines the results of a household survey carried out in August–September 2020 to assess the impact of desert locust invasions on food security and livelihoods in Uganda.

In 2019–2020, the Horn of Africa was affected by what was described by FAO as the worst desert locust infestation in over 25 years. Desert locust swarms pose a severe threat to agriculture-based livelihoods, particularly in areas where food security is already fragile. The first swarm of locusts entered the Ugandan subregion of Karamoja – already the most food-insecure subregion in the country – on 9 February 2020. By September 2020, desert locusts had been sighted in over 20 districts in the Acholi, Elgon, Karamoja, Lango, and Teso subregions.

To assess the impact of the desert locust invasions, a survey of 7 800 households was carried out in the affected subregions. Data collection, processing, and analysis were carried out by a technical team comprising staff of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, district local governments, Makerere University and FAO; Catholic Relief Services provided support during the collection and validation of the data. The assessment found that the desert locust invasions had had a negative impact on the livelihoods and food security of a majority of households in all surveyed subregions.

Based on the results of the assessment, a number of recommendations for response options (including control measures and livelihood support programmes) were formulated. A critical need to improve Uganda’s desert locust preparedness by strengthening the country’s capacities for real-time surveillance, rapid verification and deployment of control teams upon confirmation was highlighted.