"This generous cash contribution from ECHO is more than welcome because in April we had to cut rations to the 1.28 million displaced people in northern Uganda at the worst time of year because of a shortage of funding," said WFP Country Director Tesema Negash.
"With this and other recent contributions, WFP will be able in June to restore rations to their normal levels," said Negash, who added that the cuts in April, which trimmed individual rations by as much as one-third, came at a particularly hard time - at the start of the annual 'lean season' when food from the harvest runs out before the new harvest in August.
The ECHO cash contribution, equivalent to US$6.8 million, will be used by WFP to buy food within Uganda for distribution to the displaced. Buying food assistance locally benefits local markets and farmers, as well as the beneficiaries.
WFP is the single largest food-purchasing organization in Uganda and bought a total of 120,000 metric tons of food in the country in 2006 at a cost of US$30 million. WFP buys up to 10 percent of its total maize purchases directly from small-scale farmers' groups in Uganda.
WFP is also feeding 183,000 refugees in Uganda and 500,000 victims of drought in the Karamoja region. The refugees will also have their rations restored to normal in June.
The drought-affected in Karamoja were not included in the ration cuts imposed in April.
WFP has so far received US$70.4 million or 52.4 percent of the US$134 million it asked donors and the government to provide to help feed nearly two million people in Uganda in 2007.
It costs about US$11 million a month to sustain WFP's relief and recovery operation in the country.