Ugandans are faced with food insecurity, officials blame it on past drought

The population of food-stressed Ugandans has increased to 26.5 percent from the 16 percent reported in July 2016, according to a report from the Office of the Prime Minister.

This new report, presented by the State Minister for Karamoja Moses Kizige to the cabinet, followed a National Food Security Assessment Report for January 2017 which highlighted a rise in the number of food-insecure Ugandans to 11.4 million from 1.3 million people in November 2016.

Thirty districts were assessed for food and nutrition security. They include Arua, Maracha, Nebbi, Yumbe, Iganga, Kiryandongo, Namutumba, Isingiro, Ntungamo, Bushenyi, Kasese, Kabale, and Kyenjojo among others.

In many of these, a big percentage of the population can only access one to two meals a day while 4.5 percent of the country’s population does not have any food stocks and are classified are being in a food crisis.

The Office of the Prime Minister attributes this current food security to prolonged dry spells resulting in crop/pasture failure and livestock deaths, crop and animal pests like fall army worm and foot and mouth disease as well as inadequate knowledge on water harvesting, storage and use of water for irrigation.

Agriculture Minister Vincent Ssempijja also said that the fall army worm had adversely affected the food security of the country but that government had embarked on a nationwide awareness campaign on recognition, management and effective insecticides to kill the worm.

“In the medium term, the ministry through the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) is screening natural agents that can kill the army worm.” said Ssempijja.

He added that his ministry was also engaging manufacturers of pesticides to set base in the country as they in a long run develop a bio control agents and breeding for resistance.





Heavy rains leave many in Ibanda homeless

A heavy down pour has left a trail of destruction in Kicuzi Sub County in Ibanda district. Twenty households are homeless after their houses were destroyed by the heavy rain that pounded the sub county for close to five hours on Wednesday.
The rain also destroyed Irimya police post injuring three people critically. They include Juliet Ampire, Ketty Ampaire and her 2- year- old child.  They were rushed to Ishaka Adventist and Kyamuhunga Hospitals respectively.  The most affected residents are from Kitooma, Rwenzigye, Ryakazo, Karuhisi villages.
John Tushemereirwe, the Kacuzi Sub county LC V councilor, says the rain started on Tuesday at 2pm and stopped before resuming in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Fred Baryaija is one of the residents who lost their houses in the rain. According to Baryaija, in addition to losing his property, where his entire property was lost, his banana plantation is no more because of the heavy destruction.
Denis Ocama, the Ibanda District Police Commander, says they are hunting for the suspects who took advantage of the destruction of the police post to escape from lawful custody. The duo had been locked up in Police post for theft. Melechuides Kazwengye, the Ibanda LC V chairperson, says the district has dispatched a team to the area to the affected assess the magnitude of the damage.
According to Kazwengye, the district intends to petition the primate minister’s office for intervention due to lack of funds to support the disaster victims.