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12 million face food insecurity in Uganda


A new government report in Uganda found that 12 million people in the East African nation are experiencing food insecurity.
Speaking alongside various government officials and ambassadors from various European nations, as well as Turkey and China, Ugandan Agriculture Minister Vincent Sempijja said the country is facing a scarcity of water and pasture land as a result of last year’s prolonged dry spell.
“The number of people in need of relief food has increased from 1.3 million in November 2016 to 3.5 million today,” he added, at a meeting on food security, held in part to publicize the release of the report, which was written with support from UN agencies.
He said the Agriculture Ministry is working hard “to meet relief food, provision of quick maturing and drought resistance seeds, control of pests, and disease and provision of water for livestock.”
The report shows that 10.9 million Ugandans are experiencing food insecurity and another 1.6 million are in a crisis, meaning about one-third of the population is experiencing severe food shortage, deteriorating dietary diversity, and high malnutrition.
The overwhelming influx of refugees from the war-torn nation of South Sudan has also increased demand for food and services in refugee-hosting districts. More than 1.5 million South Sudanese refugees have fled to neighboring countries in the region, and half of them to Uganda. In 2017 alone, more than 116,000 South Sudanese refugees have fled to Uganda.
In response to the crisis, the World Bank has now triggered disaster risk financing through various projects in northern Uganda worth $40 million and $140 million for agriculture cluster projects in drought-stricken areas.
Christina Malmberg Calvo, Uganda’s World Bank country manager, warned that if poor and vulnerable households in the country are not supported, they could resort to such coping mechanisms as “reducing the food they consume, withdrawing children from school, and selling the few productive assets they have in acts of desperation”.

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