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11 Million Ugandans face acute food insecurity

Wednesday, 01 March 2017

The Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda launched the National Food Security Assessment Report on 28th February at Kampala Serena Hotel.

The report indicates that at least 10.9 million Ugandans are facing acute food insecurity with the country risking real disaster should the first planting season rains fail. The report reveals that one in every three Ugandans is facing acute food insecurity.

The reports compiled by an Inter-ministerial team, says the number of food-insecure Ugandans may rise to 11.4 million by the end this month. The report indicates that the food insecurity that afflicted 1.3 million people in November 2016, had ravaged 10.9 million people by January 2017, with at least 1.6 million Ugandans already suffering food crisis. The new report cites most food-insecure sub-regions as Teso, Karamoja, Bukedi, the cattle corridor, parts of Busoga, Lango, Acholi, West Nile and parts of central Buganda.

Dr. Rugunda attributed the acute food insecurity on the prolonged drought that affected the country in 2015 and part of 2016, but assured Ugandans that government is responding to the challenge. “And in November 2016, government sent a team of ministers and technical staff to carry out an assessment of the deteriorating food security situation across the country and the national food security assessment report, what I am launching is a product of fact-finding mission by political leaders and inter-agency technical assessment,” Dr. Rugunda said.

Dr. Rugunda said with assistance from a joint team of experts, government ministries, the World Bank, UNDP, Food Agriculture Organisation, World Food Programme, UNICEF and 85 district local governments, government has also worked out a five-year Food Eradication Action plan scaling up irrigation, construction of more valley tanks and large dams. He said government has also committed Shs25 billion for relief food and is in the process of procuring 1,600 metric tonnes of maize flour and 1,400 metric tonnes of beans.

Dr. Rugunda warned that there will be frequent droughts resulting in crop failures and the loss of pasture grazing land for livestock, increased flooding, water logging, erosion and declining soil fertility due to climate change. He urged the people to adopt irrigation and modern ways of farming.

Ms. Rosa Malango, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative said, 'the Sustainable Development Goals recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including achieving food security, improving health outcomes, strengthening social protection, and creating job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.

‘Building on Uganda’s commitment to the SDGs, the United Nations in Uganda remains committed to work with the Government and partners to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition, promote sustainable agriculture and achieve risk-informed development,’ she said. During her intervention she provided an overview of actions being taken by 5 UN agencies WFP, FAO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNHCR in improving food security in different parts of the country particularly the worst affected districts including Karamoja Sub-region, the cattle corridor and the refugee hosting districts.

At the same occasion, H.E. Zheng Zhou Qiang Ambassador of China, handed over relief aid worth Shs22 billion worth 5,983 metric tons of rice from China.

UN Agencies in Uganda