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Well below-average main season production expected in Karamoja

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Uganda
  • August 2015
Well below-average main season production expected in Karamoja

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  • Key Messages
  • Current situation
  • Updated Assumptions
  • Projected outlook through December 2015
  • Key Messages
    • Main season harvests in Karamoja are expected to begin in September, three months later than normal. Preliminary estimates suggest production is likely to be between 20 and 30 percent of average. 

    • In bimodal areas, above-average first season harvests have improved access to food and income, and land preparation and planting for the second season are underway.  

    • Food security in Karamoja will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2)  in the coming months due to poor seasonal performance, production shortfalls, and related shocks. Some households will likely face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in areas where production deficits are highest. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected in the rest of the country through December. 

    Current situation

    Bimodal areas:

    • Above-average first season harvests have increased food availability in bimodal areas. First season harvests are complete in most parts of the country except in northern Uganda, where harvests are ongoing. Retail staple food prices declined seasonally by up to 27 percent in July, but wholesale prices have increased by roughly 40 percent compared to last year.
    • Land preparation for the second season has started but poor rainfall is disrupting activities in some areas. Uncertainly about the August to December rainy season has caused a decline in land preparation activies.  However, only 10 to 15 percent of farmers typically plant an early crop of beans and maize in August that is harvested in November, but the majority plant in October.
    • Pasture conditions are near average in the central cattle corridor districts of Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Kaliro, Sembabule, and Lyantonde. Livestock body condition, milk production, and availability remain average country-wide.

    Unimodal Karamoja:

    • Cumulative rainfall deficits since July continue to cause severe moisture stress. Rainfall in July and August was between 25 and 50 percent of average. Rainfall deficits and above-average temperatures have hindered crop development, particularly in Kaabong, Moroto, and Kotido districts. Poor crop performance has led to low seasonal demand for agricultural labor since June. Crops sales will likely not occur in the coming months.
    • Households have increased brewing, firewood and charcoal sales to improve household purchasing power. Households rely on these sales for up to 70 percent of household income. Households near main roads are capable of marginally increasing these natural product sales. However, since July the terms of trade for natural products to sorghum have slightly declined. Natural product prices have declined due to increased supply and staple prices have increased due to increased demand and low production in Karamoja. As such, household purchasing power and food access is constrained.
    • In worst-affected areas, some households have reported high levels of coping, like begging, sharing food, or migrating to urban areas for labor.

    Updated Assumptions

    The following assumptions are updated from the original assumptions for Karamoja in FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for July to December 2015 which is available here.

    • In July, FEWS NET assumed crop production in Karamoja would be roughly 60 to 70 percent of average. Due to rainfall deficits in July and August and ongoing severe moisture stress, main season harvests are likely to be worse than previously anticipated, roughly 20 to 30 percent of average.
    • Due to these production deficits, households in Karamoja will not replenish food stocks as they typically do during the harvest period. Incomes from agricultural labor from August to October will be below average due to reduced demand. 

    Projected outlook through December 2015

    Poor households in Karamoja are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) due to delayed green harvests, reduced food availability, and declining income opportunities. Some households are likely experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in areas worst-affected by poor seasonal performance. Production is expected to be well-below average across Karamoja and a majority of poor households are unlikely to harvest any crops this year. Livelihood and consumption-based coping will likely increase, and the number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is likely to rise in the coming three to four months in Kaabong, Moroto, and Kotido districts, and northern parts of Nakapiripirit. Second season harvests in bimodal will increase food availability and access nationwide and acute food insecurity outside of Karamoja will remain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through December.

    Figures Seasonal calendar for a typical year

    Figure 1

    Seasonal calendar of typical year

    Source: FEWS NET

    Figure 1


    This Food Security Outlook Update provides an analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography over the next six months. Learn more here.

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