Uganda: Museveni directs on Karamoja famine

By Carol Natukunda

PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has ordered Karamoja leaders and the disaster preparedness ministry to ensure adequate relief food supply in the region. Museveni stressed that the relief must be well managed to curb the food crisis in Karamoja.

The President made the remarks on Thursday, while meeting the line ministers and officials at State House, Nakasero.

He said Karamoja needed to be zoned so that places with the potential to produce food are given tractors and ploughs.

Museveni suggested that the less productive areas be facilitated to carry out projects such as bee-keeping.

"Since Karamoja has been disarmed, wananchi should be assisted," a State House statement quoted him as saying.

The President further emphasised the need to expand large scale farming. He told the meeting that people who had the potential to undertake commercial agriculture should be assisted through National Agricultural Advisory Services.

"Wananchi should be mobilised into other income generating activities like brick making and mushroom growing," he said.

The Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere announced that some tractors had been sent to Karamoja and that relief would be supplied soon.

Present were ministers Adolf Mwesige, Aston Kajara, Musa Ecweru and David Wakikona.

The Karamoja region is located in eastern Uganda and comprises the five districts of Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, Moroto and Nakapiripirit. The semi-arid region has the poorest health and poverty indicators. About 750,000 people have been affected by famine, according to the Famine Early Warning System Network.

Food security continues to deteriorate and it is projected that assistance will be needed until the next harvest in 2009. The causes of famine include failed rains, depleted food stocks, low incomes, high prices and livestock disease.