Uganda + 2 more

GIEWS Country Brief: Uganda, 05-October-2022

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Poor 2022 first season cereal harvest gathered in bimodal rainfall areas

  • Delayed and reduced 2022 harvest expected in Karamoja Region

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

  • 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, matoke cooking bananas, beans and maize flour were between 55 and 80 percent higher on a yearly basis.