Uganda Food Security Outlook Update, August 2020

Situation Report
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Despite first season harvest, food insecurity will likely remain elevated in the near-term


  • In August, acute food insecurity in Uganda continues to be driven by the economic impacts of COVID-19 on household income sources and the impact of erratic rainfall and floods on crop production. Poor urban and rural households continue to earn below-normal income from off-farm income sources, crop sales, and livestock production, which reduces their ability to meet their food and non-food needs. However, the scale of the population experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes has declined compared to June. The first season harvest is im proving food availability, while the re-opening of the economy is le ading to some recovery in income sources and access to food.

  • In the near-term, the Government of Uganda is considering whether it will reinstate some movement restrictions on the sub-national level due to the acceleration of the growth rate of COVID-19 cases in August. Based on recent trends and since second season cultivation activities are already starting, the impact of such restrictions on food security would most likely be highest in urban centers. A rebound in the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) population would be likely.

  • In bimodal areas, the first season harvests of pulses, legumes, and maize are estimated to be slightly below average while perennial staple and cash crops are estimated to be above average. Mixed crop production outcomes are driven by rainfall distribution and the timing of planting. Households in parts of western and northern Uganda were also affected by renewed flooding in August, which displaced households and disrupted livelihood activities. Additionally, rainfall from September to December is forecast to be below-average, elevating the likelihood of crop production shortfalls during the second season. The Stressed (IPC Phase 2) population is expected to be atypically high through January.

  • In Karamoja, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist due to the delayed main season harvest, persistent livestock quarantine, insecurity, and below-normal income sources. However, sorghum crop yields may be somewhat better than previously anticipated due to above-average rainfall in July and August. Once the main harvest is fully underway in October, replenished household and market stocks and falling sorghum prices will likely support improvement to Stressed (IPC Phase 2).

  • The refugee response in Uganda remains underfunded, though a small increase in donor funding is now expected to maintain delivery of a 70 percent ration to refugees through December. Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes are expected in the near-term due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on other income sources. From October to January, an anticipated increase in ease of movement and second season harvests will likely support slight improvement to Crisis (IPC Phase 3).