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Presence Country
Food Security Outlook

Minimal (IPC Phase 1) expected in most areas with average first season production

February 2018 to September 2018

February - May 2018

June - September 2018

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
Concentration of displaced people
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
Concentration of displaced people
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
Concentration of displaced people
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

  • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected across much of Uganda through September 2018 due to expected average harvests, typical access to income-earning opportunities, and near-normal household purchasing capacity. In Karamoja, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected through the peak of the lean season in June, and some households in Napak, Moroto, and Nakapiripirit will likely be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes will continue in parts of Karamoja with the harvest, though Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected in Abim, Amudat, and Kotido.  

  • The March to May first rainy season in bimodal areas and the April to September main rainy season in Karamoja are forecast to be above average. As a result, production is expected to be average to slightly above average. The exception is maize production in Karamoja, where crop losses due to Fall Armyworm (FAW) are likely. However, sorghum production in Karamoja is expected to be average. In bimodal areas, continued control measures against the spread of FAW are likely and maize losses will be relatively lower.  

  • The daily arrival rate of refugees from South Sudan has declined in recent months. However, an increasing number of refugees are arriving from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and an estimated 52,284 people have sought refuge in Uganda from DRC between December 2017 and February 2018. Refugees are expected to have access to humanitarian assistance through mid-2018 and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are likely. Some refugees will also access harvests in June/July and production is expected to be slightly better than last year, though total production is insufficient to meet households’ basic needs. In the absence of assistance, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are likely. 

National Overview

Current Situation

January to March is typically a dry season throughout Uganda. Many poor households are engaged in land clearing, plowing, and planting preparation for the March to June first season rainfall in bimodal areas and the April to September main rainy season in Karamoja. During this time, most households are meeting their basic food needs through a combination of market purchases and food stocks from last season’s harvests, which took place between November and December in bimodal areas and August to November in Karamoja.

Despite slight rainfall deficits across the country (Figure 1), September to December second season rainfall in bimodal areas was sufficient for normal crop development and production was average in most areas. Exceptions to this include Acholi, some central areas, and Lango where rainfall deficits resulted in some crop losses. Additionally, the continued presence of Fall Armyworm (FAW) caused crop damage, though the overall impact was low and isolated in bimodal areas, primarily due to control techniques implemented by farmers. In Karamoja, control measures were limited and significant maize crop losses were reported in Amudat, Nakapiripirit, Kotido, and Napak, resulting in below-average maize production during their August to November 2017 harvest. However, sorghum production in Karamoja was normal.

Although rainfall was sufficient for normal crop production in most regions, rainfall deficits were significant in some areas of the cattle corridor. As a result, pasture conditions and water resources are below normal during the ongoing dry season. Consequently, livestock body conditions and milk productivity are slightly below average. Furthermore, access to traditional dry season grazing areas and migratory routes are restricted in some parts of central and northern Karamoja, following cattle thefts and conflict over pasture and water resources between the Turkana and Karamojong herders, as well as among Karamojong. Despite this, livestock sales are average throughout the country and goat prices are 5-25 percent above average in most markets, with the exception of Moroto and Napak where goat prices are 5-15 percent below average.

As a result of average production in most areas and normal trade flows, the retail price of local staple cereals are seasonally stable. Prices have declined significantly since the same time last year (Figure 2) and from mid-2017, when relatively lower production led to high staple food prices. Despite declines from last year, prices remain somewhat above average in most markets (Figure 3). In Karamoja, though, staple food prices are lower than average in most markets.

Most poor households are earning seasonally normal levels of income from typical activities including agricultural labor, sale of firewood and charcoal, and fishing. In southwestern Uganda where planting is ongoing, poor households are also earning income from farm labor. As a result of normal levels of income and declining staple food prices, terms of trade have improved relative to the same time last year. Terms of trade are still slightly below average in many areas, though, driven by staple food prices that remain somewhat above average.

Also as a result of normal production, maize exports from Uganda in the fourth quarter of 2017 were estimated at 119,000 MT, near average levels for fourth-quarter exports. Of this total, an estimated 77 percent was exported to Kenya, where relatively higher prices and a national production deficit attracted imports from Uganda. Sorghum exports to South Sudan were 16 percent higher in the fourth quarter than in the third quarter; however, fourth quarter exports were still 15 percent below the four-year average and 28 percent below the 2016 fourth quarter figure. This is due to persistent conflict-related trade disruptions and very low effective demand in South Sudan.

Most poor households have normal access to food and income and are consuming available stocks from own production and food purchased from markets. Although prices are moderately above average in most areas, household income is normal and sufficient to purchase adequate food. Prices have come down considerably from the same time last year, and production is relatively better, and poor households’ food security has improved relative to the same time last year. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes prevail in most bimodal areas. In Karamoja, some poor households have depleted cereal stocks from the August to November harvest and are now reliant on markets to access food. Although terms of trade are average or above average in most areas, households depleted stocks earlier than normal following crop losses and have lower than normal access to milk. During the lead up to the lean season, with seasonally high prices, many lack sufficient income to purchase all their basic food and non-food needs and are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Some poor households who lost most or all of their production due to the prolonged dry spell and impact of FAW have been atypically market dependent for several months and face occasional food consumption gaps and are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

Uganda continues to host a significant number of refugees and asylum-seekers, the majority of whom are from South Sudan. However, an increasing number of refugees are arriving from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the daily arrival rate of individuals seeking refuge from DRC exceeds the daily arrival rate of those seeking refugee from South Sudan. New arrivals from South Sudan are currently being settled in Omugo extension of Rhino camp, though refugees who arrived over the past year also reside in Bidibidi, Lobule, Imvepi, Palorinya, and Maaji among others. Arrivals from DRC, who are primarily coming from North and South Kivu, are residing in to Rwamwanja, Kyaka II, and Kyangwali settlements. An outbreak of cholera in refugee settlements of Hoima and Kyegegwa, with 1056 cases and 29 deaths, has been confirmed in February. WFP is providing a full ration to all refugees who arrived after July 2015 and a half ration to all refugees who arrived prior to July 2015. Most refugees have some access to other sources of food and income, including crop production, petty trade, and remittances, though these sources are minimal and available primarily to refugees who arrived earlier than the past 6 months. Humanitarian assistance remains a key source of food among refugees and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are likely. 

Assumptions

The February to September 2018 most likely scenario is based on the following national-level assumptions:

  • Based on forecasts by NOAA and USGS, the March to June 2018 first rainy season in bimodal Uganda and the April to September second rainy season in Karamoja are both forecast to be above average. Above-average rainfall is due to the forecast that the effects of La Niña will continue to drive above-average rainfall over Uganda as it dissipates to ENSO neutral between March and May. A timely start of seasonal rainfall is also forecast.
  • Based on the rainfall forecast and expected normal levels of planting, production is likely to be average to slightly above average. Green harvests are expected in May in bimodal areas and July in Karamoja. Market supplies and household-level food stocks are likely to be at normal levels throughout the projection period. 
  • Agricultural labor opportunities are expected to be available at normal levels between February and April for land preparation, planting, and weeding. Wage rates and total seasonal income are expected to be normal based on likely average production and normal levels of household engagement in agricultural labor.
  • Pasture and water resources will likely remain below average through March in cattle corridor districts. With the expectation of above-average rainfall starting in March/April, pasture and water availability are expected to return to normal and remain normal throughout the projection period. Some atypical livestock migration is likely to continue in isolated areas where clashes have occurred and are likely to continue, specifically in Karamoja. Despite this, due to available pasture and water, livestock productivity is expected to be normal and follow seasonal trends.
  • Fall Armyworm is expected to be present throughout the projection period and will negatively impact some crops between early development and vegetative stages. The impact is expected to be most significant on maize crops. However, the overall impact is likely to be limited and similar to last season, based on field observations that indicate farmers are likely to purchase and apply pesticides.
  • Staple food prices are expected to remain stable through May, at 20-30 percent above the five-year average. Due to expected average to slightly above-average first season production, prices are expected to decline closer to the average between July and September. 
  • Similarly, the price of a typical food basket is expected to increase seasonally through May and to be above average, driven by slightly above-average food prices. The price of a typical food basket will decline after June and be closer to the five-year average through the end of the projection period.
  • Flows of staple goods within Uganda are expected to follow normal patterns, moving from surplus-producing to deficit-producing areas.
  • It is expected that additional people from both DRC and South Sudan will seek refuge in Uganda throughout the projection period due to the ongoing conflicts in both countries. The daily arrival rate of Congolese refugees is expected to be between 100 and 200. The daily arrival rate of South Sudanese refugees is likely to be less than 100. 

Most Likely Food Security Outcome

In bimodal areas, poor households currently have 2 months of cereal stock and it is expected they will exhaust stocks in March or April, after which it is expected they will meet their basic food needs through market purchases. March to May first season rainfall is expected to start on time and be above average, and poor households will likely access agricultural labor opportunities at normal levels and earn typical levels of income. Although prices are expected to remain somewhat above the five-year average, poor households’ income from labor opportunities is expected to be sufficient to purchase adequate food. While some crop losses are likely due to the presence of FAW, farmers are likely to minimize losses through pest control. With likely control measures and the forecasted above-average rainfall, average to slightly above-average production is expected in June/July. Poor households will have normal access to food and income from the harvests and crop sales. Furthermore, average pasture and water availability for livestock from May through the end of the projection period will support normal livestock productivity and households will have average access to milk for sales and consumption. From the above-mentioned sources, most poor households will maintain adequate consumption and pursue normal livelihood activities and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected throughout the projection period.  

In Karamoja, food stocks from August to November 2017 production have seasonally declined and most poor households are relying primarily on markets to access food. Seasonally low staple food prices coupled with favorable terms of trade are expected to support staple food purchases from markets with income from selling firewood, charcoal, agricultural labor, and livestock. However, income is typically low during the lean season and seasonally high food prices result in some households being unable to afford all basic food and non-food needs. Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected during the lean season, though improvement to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) is expected in several areas with the average harvest expected in July/August, and normal income from agricultural labor.
Refugees are expected to have access to planned and funded humanitarian assistance through mid-2018 and Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are expected. Some refugees are likely to access harvests in June/July and production is expected to be slightly better than last year, though total harvest levels are still insufficient to meet households’ basic needs. In the absence of assistance, which is currently not funded beyond May, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes would be expected. 

 

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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