Uganda: Karamoja Food Security Assessment March 2014


The overall objective of this post-harvest assessment was to determine the level of crop and livestock production and output in Karamoja during the 2013 season and the resultant implications for the current and projected food security situation in the region in 2014. This assessment follows up on the recommendations of the joint rapid food security assessment conducted by FAO, WFP, OPM and MAAIF in August 2013, and is therefore intended to inform the short-term and intermediate (2014) planning and response analysis processes among government, donors, UN, NGO and other stakeholders in the food security sector.

Executive Summary and Recommendations

Following the long dry spell that hit Karamoja in mid-May to mid-July 2013, the Government requested the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) to carry out a rapid assessment in the region between July and August 2013. The assessment was carried out by staff fromFAO, WFP, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). The results released in August 2013 indicated that yields were expected to be below normal in most of the areas as a result of the general poor crop performance. It was also recommended that a post-harvest crop and food needs assessment be carried out later in the year to facilitate planning and timely decision making.

The Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries anticipated carrying out this assessment at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, but was not able to do this because of resource constraints. This prompted FAO and WFP to support the MAAIF Early Warning Unit to carry out this assessment in February 2014. This assessment together with the FAO/GIEWS Livestock and Market Assessment mission (2-17th February 2014)1 was also intended to complement the just concluded Household Economy Analysis (HEA) baseline survey (March 2014) in generating a holistic view of food security at household level for the region.

The main causes of current household food insecurity in Karamoja can be attributed to a combination of reduced access to food and insufficient food production (availability) across the region.

Key Findings:

  1. Food Availability: The inability of farmers to increase agricultural productivity

(a) Very low productivity due to several factors was the leading cause of poor harvests of key cereals and pulses (sorghum, maize, beans). In 2013, low crop productivity was aggravated by dry spells, diseases and pests.

(b) The relatively high access to, and cultivation of, land (average size of 1.3 hectares cultivated per household) does not translate into greater food availability for the household primarily due to lack or limited access to agricultural inputs and technical support that would increase in both production and productivity levels.

(c) The key constraints to crop production faced by the households include the inability to access key agricultural inputs (seeds, tools, labour, and fertilizers) and climate change and variability (prolonged dry spell).

(d) Similarly, the major constraint to livestock production is the inability to protect livestock from diseases – due to the inadequate access to the necessary drugs and veterinary services.

(e) It needs to be emphasised that, although the households had some food stocks at the time of the assessment, these were expected to last for a duration of only one month on average. Most households expect the highest food deficits to occur in between April and July.