Uganda’s Karamoja facing food shortage

Friday October 6 2017

Karamojong women tend to their tomato garden in Amudat District on September 301, 2017. Picture Ronald Musoke.

Karamojong women tend to their tomato garden in Amudat District on September 301, 2017. Despite the harsh climate, Karamojong women grow tomatoes. PHOTO FILE | NATION 

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Karamoja region in northeastern Uganda is experiencing a food challenge.

Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Napak, Abim, Amudat, Kaabong and Kotido districts have been mapped as being the most vulnerable.

A new study has recommended that the Uganda government increase investment in water harvesting, agroforestry schemes, improved access to climate change information and cultivation of drought resistant crops.

Pastoralist communities from northwestern Kenya and South Sudan affected by drought normally drive their livestock to Karamoja in search of water and pasture at times, leading to confrontations with locals of semi-arid area.

Unlike most regions of Uganda that enjoy bi-modal rainfall, Karamoja has a uni-modal pattern starting in March and ending in October followed by a dry spell.

Land preparation, planting and weeding takes place between March and October. Harvesting is between August and December.


Vision 2040 threatened

The study Impacts of Climate Change on Food Security and Livelihoods in Karamoja, conducted by Uganda’s Water and Environment Ministry, World Food Program and Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, has found that temperatures in Karamoja have been rising over the past 35 years while the rainfall is unpredictable and uneven.

Households are vulnerable to climate shocks as floods, prolonged dry spells, strong winds, erratic rainfall and storms.

Drought alone, wipes out livestock and over 50 per cent of crops.

The Water and Environment Minister, Sam Cheptoris said Uganda is adopting climate change resilience programmes that support the most vulnerable communities.