Uganda Monthly Report 09/2003 - Shortfalls expected for food aid pipeline

Situation Report
Originally published


Nearly one million IDPs in northern and eastern Uganda face moderate to high food insecurity and lack basic services. This situation is likely to deteriorate further because of reduced resources and a projected 36,000 MT shortcoming, between September 2003 and March 2004, in supplies to the World Food Programme's pipeline for IDPs and over 800,000 other vulnerable people.

Normal second season cultivation is currently underway alongside the delayed harvest of cereal crops in key producing areas. About 40 percent of the maize crop is yet to be harvested. Approximately 250,000 to 300,000 MT are expected from the current harvest; Kapchorwa in eastern Uganda is expected to contribute an additional 40,000 to 50,000 MT when its long cycle crop is harvested, beginning in October. National bean production was about 100,000 MT for the first season harvest.

Maize prices finally declined in August as the harvest intensified. However, prices generally remain higher than the average for the last two years, indicating continued lower purchasing power. Significant local and regional demand are keeping the price of maize high, encouraging trade in the commodity despite quality limitations mainly attributed to high moisture content. There have been significant flows of maize to Kenya since July 2003.

1.0 Imminent Break in Food Supplies to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs); Promising Food Prospects for the rest of the country.

Overall, civil security remains uncertain in Gulu, Kitgum, Pader Districts and parts of Lira District in northern Uganda where the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continues sporadic attacks on communities and road convoys. At least 750,000 people are displaced and now live in several protected settlements in the four districts. New incursions of the LRA since mid-2003 into Kaberamaido, Katakwi and Soroti Districts in eastern Uganda have expanded the civil insecurity problem, resulting in additional displacement of close to 240,000 people from their households. The combined figure of internally displaced persons (IDPs) is now nearly one million (Figure 1).

MAP - Uganda: Internally displaced persons - Sep 2003

A majority of the displaced people suffer moderate to high food insecurity and malnutrition rates are high in children under five years of age. Most of the IDPs have very limited access to adequate food, health, water, sanitation and other basic services. Several indigenous and international humanitarian organizations are active in the districts, providing assistance to the IDPs. WFP provides over 90 percent of the IDPs' food needs. Insecurity on the roads, however, continues to hamper humanitarian responses to the internally displaced.

Low production in the first season has increased the IDPs' risk of food insecurity and diminished the likelihood of any improvement in their food access over the next four to six months. As a result, there is an increasing need for external food and other assistance to mitigate negative impacts on their health, nutrition and assets over the long term. This assistance would ensure the IDPs retain ability to regain productive lives when they return to their homes.

The UN World Food Programme estimates a shortfall of approximately 36,000 MT of food aid for its operations in Uganda between September 2003 and March 2004. The agency, which provides food to nearly one million IDPs and over 800,000 drought-affected persons and Rwandan and Sudanese refugees under its Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) 10121.0, projects serious pipeline breaks in November and December 2003, and it is projected that there will not be any cereals to distribute then. WFP also indicates the pipeline will be further stressed by a need to provide food aid to about 240,000 displaced persons in the Teso region (Kaberamaido Katakwi, Kumi and Soroti Districts) in the months before the end of 2003.

Produce from the first season harvest has improved household food availability and access in other parts of Uganda. Prospects over the next four months generally look good with no observable stress. Household food security is improving in Karamoja as the harvests begin; green maize is being harvested in the western wet belt. The sorghum harvest is beginning in the whole region. A normal harvest is expected in Karamoja, enabling households' access to adequate food. The purchasing power of households having livestock is also improving as prices rise or stabilize compared to early 2003, improving their market access to grains. Abundant vegetation and sufficient water supplies have improved livestock access to adequate pasture and water.

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