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Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Below-average harvest expected in northwestern and eastern bimodal areas

June 2016

June - September 2016

Uganda June 2016 Food Security Projections for June to September

October 2016 - January 2017

Uganda June 2016 Food Security Projections for October to January

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

Key Messages

  • Very poor households in Napak, Moroto, and Kaabong are expected to continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity through the remainder of the lean season due to significant crop losses in 2015. As a result of the late onset of 2016 rainfall, cultivation began late and is expected to delay the harvest by one month and prolong the lean season through July. 

  • In bimodal areas, the March to May first rainy season was three weeks late and below-average in northwestern, central, and eastern Uganda. The delayed onset of rainfall led many farmers to cultivate late and poor rainfall caused some crop damage. In northwestern and eastern Uganda, some poor household are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to the delayed arrival of green harvests and below-average agricultural income-earning opportunities.

  • There is a high probability of a La Niña event occuring throughout the second rainy season and it is expected to drive below-average rainfall over much of East Africa. Consequently, the October to December second rainy season in bimodal areas is forecast to be below-average, reducing December/January harvest prospects and lowering agricultural labor opportunities for labor-dependent households. 

National Overview

Current Situation

In bimodal areas, the March to May first rainy season was near-average in southern and western regions, but began approximately 3 weeks late and was below-average in northwestern, central, and eastern Uganda. The rainfall received in these areas was only 50-80 percent of normal. The late onset of rains led to delayed planting, causing delayed crop development. These areas also experienced an early cessation of rainfall in late May that resulted in abnormal dryness, negatively impacting crop development. Some crop failure has already been reported in the eastern districts of Katakwi, Amuria, Kumi, Serere, Soroti, and Kaberamaido. In western and southern bimodal areas where rainfall was more favorable, harvesting of legumes and cereals is ongoing and amounts have so far been average. 

Similar to northwestern, central, and eastern bimodal areas, the April to October rainy season in unimodal Karamoja was delayed by 10 to 20 days. Rainfall improved in late April and May, but then a longer-than usual dry spell stretching from mid-May to mid-June has reduced harvest prospects.

Above-average land surface temperatures are reducing soil moisture. In northern and eastern Uganda, land service temperatures have been 4 to 7 degrees Celsius above average. This has aggravated the rainfall deficits, negatively impacting crop conditions.

Pasture conditions and water availability are average to above-average in most regions of the country. Most livestock have adequate access to pasture and livestock production is average, although seasonally declining in June with the end of the rainy season. In Nakasongola, Luwero, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke Kiboga, Mubende, Sembabule, western Masaka, Lyantonde, and Rakai, conditions are deteriorating faster than normal given atypical dry conditions in these areas. 

Staple food prices have begun seasonally declining in bimodal areas as the start of the harvest increases both household and market stocks. The retail prices for cassava, cassava chips, and cassava flour all declined between 10 and 17 percent in Gulu, Kabale, Lira, Masindi, Mbale, and Soroti between April and May. Over the same time period, the retail price of maize declined between 8 and 11 percent in Soroti, Tororo, Gulu, Kampala, Lira, Masindi, Mbale, and Mbarara. Similarly, the retail price of sweet potatoes declined by an average of 9 percent in all major markets in bimodal areas. Sorghum prices remained stable in Kabale, Masindi, Lira, Tororo, and Soroti, but declined by an average of 9 percent in Arua, Gulu, and Mbale. The price of dried beans decreased by an average of seven percent across all major markets as fresh beans from the first season harvest in Masindi, Kabale, and the Elgon area reached markets throughout Uganda. Household purchasing power is improving due to the seasonally decline in prices, increasing food access.

Conversely, staple food prices are typically increasing in Karamoja as the lean season continues. Karamoja markets have seasonally low staple food stocks and will continue to rely on imports from neighboring Teso, Bugisu, and Acholi Districts until the August harvest in Karamoja. Most staple food prices increased between April and May, but within ranges typical for this area during the lean season. The retail price of sorghum increased by 8, 14, 19, and 17 percent in Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Kotido, and Kaabong, respectively. The price of cassava chips increased by 10 percent in Abim and remained stable in other markets, while the price of dry beans increased by six percent in Moroto and Kaabong, but remained stable in other markets. As a result of increasing staple food prices, poor households’ purchasing power is seasonally deteriorating. Between April and May the charcoal-to-sorghum terms of trade (ToT) deteriorated in all districts of Karamoja and the labor-to-sorghum ToT deteriorated in Nakapiripirit, Napak, Kotido, and Kaabong.  

Most poor households in bimodal areas of Uganda are maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. The ongoing first season harvest is increasing both household and market stocks. The increasing food availability is supporting the seasonal decline of staple food prices, increasing food access. However, in northwestern and eastern Uganda, some poor household are Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to the delayed arrival of green harvests and below-average income. Specifically, in the Eastern Central Lowland Cassava Sorghum and Groundnut livelihood zone, Southwest Gulu Beans Groundnuts Sheep/Goat Cassava livelihood zone, South Kitgum Pader Abim Simsim Groundnuts Sorghum Cattle livelihood zone, Southeast Lowland Cassava Cereal livelihood zone, and northwestern districts of Yumbe, Moyo, and Adjumani, household stocks were depleted in May, and arrival of the green harvest is not expected until late June due to late cultivation. Furthermore, below-average rainfall in these areas damaged some crops, reducing the demand for agricultural labor. As a result, poor households not only have limited to no personal stocks, but also have below-average incomes with which to purchase food from the market. 

In Karamoja, very poor households in Moroto, Napak, and Kaabong are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In 2015, the most significant crop losses were in these districts of the Central Sorghum and Livestock livelihood zone. Most very poor households exhausted food stocks in December 2015, three months early than normal, and have been experiencing an atypically long lean season. Owning few to no livestock, very poor households continue to be heavily dependent on wild foods and the sale of firewood/charcoal and casual labor to purchase cereals from the market. However, the long dry spell this year has damaged some crops, lowering the demand for agricultural labor from which very poor households would usually earn income during this time. As a result, many have below-average income to fund market purchases. Additionally, household purchasing power has deteriorated with the seasonal increase in prices, with the largest ToT reductions seen in Kaabong. It is expected very poor households in Moroto, Napak, and Kaabong are facing difficulty continuing to cope through the prolonged lean season and are facing food consumption gaps. In the remaining districts of Karamoja, which had slightly better 2015 harvests but are still experiencing a prolonged lean season and reduced agricultural labor opportunities, very poor households are Stressed (IPC Phase 2).  

The number of refugees in Uganda continues to increase. Civil conflicts in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and South Sudan have driven an increasing number of people to seek refuge in Uganda. As of May 31, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported an average daily arrival rate of 150-200 persons from South Sudan since January 2016. Uganda is currently hosting 224,420 refugees from South Sudan, 38,856 from Burundi, and 203,070 from the DRC. The office of the Prime Minister continues to coordinate with WHO, WFP, UNFPA, and other partners to provide nutrition, health, education, child protection, and water and sanitation services. The Government of Uganda and host communities allocate land to refugees in designated settlements and as a result refugees rely on both own production and food assistance. Since January, approximately 11,700 refugees a month have arrived in Uganda and it is assumed that most were unable to cultivate in time for first season harvest and are heavily dependent on assistance. 

Assumptions

Between June 2016 and January 2017, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following key assumptions:

  • Seasonal forecast:
  • In unimodal Karamoja, the remainder of the April to September rainy season is forecast to be slightly above average in terms of total cumulative rainfall. Northwestern areas that typically receive small amounts of rainfall over the same time period are forecast to have average rainfall.
  • According to the CPC/IRI consensus forecast, there is a 75 percent chance of a La Niña event occuring throughout the second rainy season. The La Niña event is expected to drive below-average rainfall over much of East Africa. As a result, the October to December second rainy season in bimodal areas is expected to be slightly below average. 
  • In northwestern and eastern bimodal areas, the June/July first season harvest of staples, including maize, sorghum, and beans, is expected to be 60-70 percent of average due to erratic and below-average first season rainfall. However, production is expected to be near average nationally, as the harvests in most surplus-producing regions is expected to be average.
  • The August/September harvest in unimodal Karamoja is expected to be approximately 60 percent of average due to erratic and below-average rainfall.
  • The December/January second season harvest in bimodal areas is expected to be slightly below average, given the forecast for below-average rainfall during the October to December season.  
  • In northwestern and eastern bimodal areas, income from agricultural labor through the remainder of the June/July harvest is expected to be below average due to low demand. In other bimodal areas, income from agricultural labor is expected to be average.
  • Income from second season agricultural activities from October to December is expected to be lower than normal as below-average rainfall will limit cultivation and the demand for labor.
  • Pasture conditions and water availability in the cattle corridor districts of Nakasongola, Luwero, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke Kiboga, Mubende, Sembabule, Western Masaka, Lyantonde, and Rakai Districts are likely to atypically deteriorate below what is typical during the June to September dry season, as a result of below-average March to May rainfall and current above-average temperatures. As a result, livestock body conditions will deteriorate slightly and milk production is expected to decrease to below-average levels from June to September.
  • Average livestock body conditions and average milk production are expected in unimodal Karamoja throughout the outlook period as pasture conditions are currently average and are expected to remain average to above-average.
  • Livestock and staple food exports to South Sudan are expected to remain below the five-year average as a result of the depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound (SSP) that is restricting the ability of South Sudan to import at typical levels. However, maize exports to Kenya are expected to be above-average compared to last year when Kenya had a bumper harvest that lowered the demand for imports.   
  • Prices of most staple foods are expected to decline seasonally through July as the first season harvest increases market stocks. Due to expected below-average production in northwestern and eastern Uganda, staple prices in these areas are expected to increase higher-than-normal from August through November before the second season harvest. However, it is also expected these areas will be supplied by other surplus-producing areas, as is typical, and prices in these areas will not be significantly above average.
  • It is likely that displaced persons from Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo will continue seeking refuge in Uganda throughout the outlook period. However, the number of refugees arriving from South Sudan is expected to decrease relative to 2015 given the relative improvements in security in South Sudan. Refugees who arrive after August will miss land preparation and planting for second season cultivation and it is expected they will be heavily reliant on humanitarian food aid throughout the outlook period.
  • Food assistance provided through school feeding programs in Karamoja are expected to continue at current levels throughout the scenario period, providing one daily meal of maize, beans, vegetable oil, and salt for about 100,000 school children. Similarly Cash/Food-for-Work assistance programs through WFP are likely to continue at current levels. Very poor households will be able to access additional food from safety net programs that are ongoing through WFP, ACDI/VOCA, and the Government of Uganda. However, WFP’s interannual assistance of 50 percent rations distributed 4-5 times a year to approximately 100,000 extremely vulnerable people in the Karamoja region was discontinued in May after five years of operation. As a result, it is likely some very poor households who were receiving assistance through this program have lower-than-normal food access. 

Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

In bimodal areas, the June/July harvest will increase household and market stocks, improving food availability. However, below-average production of cereals and root crops in northwestern and eastern regions of Uganda will result in atypically low levels of household stocks and increased staple food prices in these areas from August to November. Some poor households in areas of below-average production who are dependent on own crop production for food and income are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through October. It is expected they will deplete food stocks earlier than normal and earn below-average levels of income due to lower crop sales. Some poor households are expected to engage in casual labor opportunities and attempt to sell higher-than-usual amounts of charcoal/firewood in order to earn income lost through below-average crop sales. Prices are expected to be slightly above-average in areas of poor production, although supplies from areas of average production will be able to reach deficit-markets and price increases are not expected to be significantly above-average. The rest of the country is expected to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through at least October as poor households in these areas are expected to earn typical levels of income through normal livelihood activities, including the sale of crops and poultry, pretty trade, and casual labor and be able to meet both their food and non-food needs. From October to January, agricultural labor opportunities and production are both expected to be slightly below average as a result of the forecast below-normal rainfall. However, production is not expected to be significantly below average and most poor households are expected to remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through the outlook period. 

In Karamoja, an increasing number of households are expected to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the remainder of the lean season in June and July. It is expected very poor households will continue to rely on wild foods and sale of firewood/charcoal and casual labor, although many will experience food consumption gaps as deteriorating ToT are constraining food access. Since planting was delayed by 10-20 days in most areas of Karamoja, it is expected green harvest will arrive slightly later than usual, prolonging the lean season through late July. As a result of below-average cultivation and the atypically long dry spell in May that damaged some crops, the harvest in August is expected to be only 60 percent of average in Moroto, Kaabong, and Napak, but slightly higher in Abim and Nakapiripirit.  With arrival of the harvest and increased agricultural activities in August, most very poor households will either improve to or remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). In the Western Mixed Cropping livelihood zone in Abim and Nakapiripirit, the Southeastern Cattle and Maize livelihood zone in Amudat, and the Mountain Slopes Maize and Cattle livelihood zone in Nakapiripirit and Moroto, very poor households are expected to improve from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) by September and remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through January. In these areas the harvest is expected to be slightly better than in other areas of Karamoja. Additionally, very poor households in these regions have greater access to livestock products and more diverse crops, which will further support food security.

For more information on the outlook for specific areas of concern, please click the download button at the top of the page for the full report.

About Scenario Development

To project food security outcomes, FEWS NET develops a set of assumptions about likely events, their effects, and the probable responses of various actors. FEWS NET analyzes these assumptions in the context of current conditions and local livelihoods to arrive at a most likely scenario for the coming eight months. Learn more here.

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on some 34 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, and USGS, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica. Read more about our work.

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