Current Situation Overview
Karamoja region is one of the most vulnerable when it comes to climate risks in Uganda. The region suffers from severe environmental degradation, frequent prolonged dry spells, water logging (more so in 2018), weak basic social services delivery, limited marketing opportunities (especially for livestock and livestock products), low and declining productivity of land, poor infrastructure, poor health and sanitation conditions, and high prevalence of diarrhoea and other preventable diseases among children. Teso, on the other hand, is not expected to be as severely impacted because a bimodal rainfall pattern supports two cropping seasons, increasing food availability, except for Amuria and Katakwi that neighbour Karamoja.
The food security situation is expected to deteriorate in Karamoja and Teso regions. Heavy rains in 2018 resulted in flooding and water logging and were immediately followed by long dry spells which severely impacted agricultural production. Combined with high infestation by the Fall Army Worm (FAW) in 2017 and other pests and diseases, which grossly affected maize and sorghum production, food availability is expected to be below normal. In isolated areas of Teso region, crop pests and disease outbreaks like Cassava Brown Streak Disease (CBSD) also affected farmers.
For pastoralist households, livestock disease outbreaks like CBPP, LSD, CCPP and PPR reduced livestock production and subsequently household incomes.
Therefore, low crop and livestock production led to the food insecurity situation for the period October - December 2018 in which over 11% of households faced IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) food insecurity.
In October 2018, households in Amudat, Moroto and Nakapiripirit districts had sufficient food stocks to last through the end of the year but will get depleted as the lean season starts. Households in Abim, Kaabong, Kotido and Napak districts had food stocks for no more than 1.5 months and therefore should be expected to become food insecure earlier than in a normal year.
Utilisation concerns remain a major limiting factor for food security in Amudat and Moroto districts due to poor sanitation with open defecation affecting 90% and 87% of the population respectively. Nakapiripirit district also faces utilisation challenges as food preparation practices are still poor with worrying sanitation as latrine coverage stands at 23%.
For Abim, Kaabong and Kotido districts, access to food is the major limiting factor due to the low household incomes that led to reduced purchasing power even though most food items are available in the markets.
The major limiting factor in Napak district is food availability from below-normal harvests, though the overall situation is not bad as households can still access food from the markets.
Overall, Karamoja region was classified in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), with Kaabong and Kotido districts classified in IPC phase 3 (Crisis). The minimally food insecure population in the region (IPC Phase 1) has reduced from 55% in October 2017 to 30% in October 2018. The stressed population (IPC Phase 2) has increased from 35% in October 2017 to 55% in October 2018 and the population in IPC Phase 3 Crisis has also increased from 10% in October 2017 to 15% in October 2018.
Teso region on the other hand, was classified in IPC Phase 2 (Stressed), with the most food insecure districts being Bukedea and Ngora. The minimally food insecure population in the region, IPC Phase 1 (Minimal), has reduced from 86% in October 2017 to 44% in October 2018. Slightly over half of the population that was food secure at the same time last year are now in a food security stressed situation. The Stressed population (IPC Phase 2) has increased from 11% in October 2017 to 48% in October 2018, an increase that is more than 4-fold. The population in food security Crisis (IPC phase 3) has also more than doubled from 3% in October 2017 to 8% in October 2018. Analysis results show that 715,000 people are stressed and survive on 1 or 2 meals a day but with reduced dietary diversity while 117,000 are in a food security crisis. Poor and delayed harvests have contributed to increased food insecurity.
For Karamoja, results show that 607,000 people face a stressed food security situation surviving on 1 or 2 meals a day but with reduced dietary diversity while 160,000 are in food security Crisis (IPC Phase 3) with a small proportion of them on the verge of slipping into a Emergency (IPC Phase 4), especially in Kaabong and Kotido districts. Food consumption for Karamoja indicated a poor FCS f0r 11% of households while 31% were in Borderline FCS. The Household Dietary Diversity Score was medium for 48% of households and poor for 47%. For livelihood change, 61% of households applied crisis and emergency coping strategies and 17% adopted stressed coping strategies. In Teso region, 26% households had a Borderline FCS while 11% had a Poor FCS. Household dietary diversity comprised of 55% of households having medium diversitiy and 39% low. Livelihood change scores showed 71% of households employing crisis and emergency coping strategies while 19% employed stressed coping strategies. However, it should be noted that the assessment team considered borrowing from relatives as begging, an emergency coping stategy, even though it is considered a normal lifestyle habit, overestimating the severity of the results. Global Acute Malnutrition rates were highest in Karamoja region with Kaboong district recording the highest rate at 14.8%.