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Karamoja is Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse

  • Food Security Outlook Update
  • Uganda
  • November 2014
Karamoja is Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Stressed (IPC Phase 2) persists with the ongoing below average harvest in Karamoja. Households will likely conserve food stocks from their own production until February. Low priced staples on the market and better wage/firewood/charcoal to sorghum Terms of Trade have improved food access for poor households despite their limited purchasing power. 

    • Some poor households in the Kaabong and Moroto districts of Karamoja have inadequate food access with Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes. Their minimal production is nearly consumed and low incomes will limit their ability to purchase food. Two consecutive extended lean periods have left these households more vulnerable to shocks than a normal year. 

    • The second season harvest in bimodal areas is likely to be average to above average. Though harvesting started early, in November, most will occur from December to January. Food stocks at the household and market levels are expected to remain accessible at low prices, and the area will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through March. 

    • Above average rainfall has resulted in steady crop and rangeland development. Although short dry spells and heavy rainfall occurred during the August through November season it has been generally favorable for crop and pasture production. Some crops will likely be ready for harvest earlier than usual. Green harvesting is already in progress. Weeding and pruning are ongoing for the crops maturing in December and January. Livestock have average body conditions and sustained milk production.
    • Prices declined from September to October nationwide with the second season harvest, increasing food access for poor and market purchasing households. Cross border staple trade between Uganda and South Sudan has been suppressed by the ongoing conflict. Food access for the poor remains favorable across the country including Karamoja. The Terms of Trade (TOT) for firewood, charcoal, and wages to sorghum increased from September to October. 
    • Minimal crop sales are anticipated and other seasonal income sources are expected to be well below average in Karamoja. Roughly 20-30 percent of normal is expected from the ongoing harvest, but will be revised after the food security assessment survey and analysis in December. Some minimal harvesting of sorghum occurred across the Karamoja region, slightly improving food availability. Following the heavy rains that fell in late October, the sorghum crop that was anticipated to not reach maturity has recovered to a great extent to produce some grain, mostly in southern and western Karamoja. The proportion of food sourced from the market is expected to begin to increase by late January. Coping strategy use will likely intensify at this time as well, result in in a heavy reliance on sale of firewood and charcoal, increased collection of wild foods, sale of local brew, and possibly migration to nearby urban centers for casual labor opportunities.
    • Approximately 180,000 people in Eastern Karamoja are likely in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), although the entire zone remains Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Poor households in the sub-counties of Lodiko, Kalapata, Kaabong East, Loyoro, parts of Sidok, parts of Kathile, and Kamion in Kaabong District and Rupa, Katikekile, parts of Tapac, and Nadunget sub-counties in Moroto have poor food access. These households have nearly consumed their minimal food stocks from the April to October season. Dietary diversity remains extremely limited, and their food intake is already well below the minimum 2100 kilocalorie requirement. After a nearly eight month lean season due to last year’s poor harvest, most households have limited livestock to sell leaving them more vulnerable to shocks than in a normal year. Current food and income sources such as begging, wild foods collection, brewing, sorghum stoves, and charcoal and firewood sales are inadequate to meet their daily food requirements. 


    The following assumptions are updated from the original assumptions in FEWS NET’s most likely scenario for October 2014 to March 2015, which is available here.

    • In October it was assumed that the late-planted short cycle and long cycle sorghum would not reach maturity. Due to some unexpectedly heavy and above average rains in October, some sorghum will mature and be harvested between November and December, though yield will still be below normal. 


    As food stocks deplete towards the end of February in Karamoja, the Stressed (IPC Phase 2) situation will likely worsen. Household food stocks are inadequate to ensure food availability throughout the typical consumption period, likely depleting by February, one to two months earlier than normal. By this time many households will have intensified their coping strategy use. Supply is likely to exceed market demand for both labor and natural products and this may result in lower incomes than expected. Although labor opportunities will become available in the region for the season preparation in February and in nearby urban centers, incomes will be limited. Despite intensifying these coping strategies, incomes will not be adequate to meet daily food requirements to consume a diverse diet. By March, more households will be collecting wild foods to supplement market purchases. Market supplies and prices are expected to remain stable although the purchasing power of the poor will limit the household’s access to food.

    Average to above average production in bimodal areas will likely maintain stable Minimal (IPC Phase 1) through March 2015. Food stocks at household and market levels are anticipated to be replenished to normal levels as prices of most staples may continue to decline from the current levels. Poor households will be able to access food from the market through normal livelihood activities pursued during the pre-season activities like opening up land, bush clearing, and ploughing in February. Typical on-farm labor is anticipated to be available at normal levels by February. Most poor households are likely to have stable access to adequate food consumption through at least two meals per day. With normal seasonal incomes, households are likely to invest in their livelihoods by purchasing inputs, providing veterinary care for livestock as well as acquiring productive assets. Overall through March, vulnerability to food insecurity will be Minimal (IPC Phase 1) in bimodal areas.


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    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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