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.