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Erratic rainfall reduces crop production prospects in several areas of Uganda

  • Key Message Update
  • Uganda
  • May 2021
Erratic rainfall reduces crop production prospects in several areas of Uganda

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Due to irregular rainfall resulting in drier-than-normal conditions, first season harvests in localized areas of West Nile, Lango, Acholi, and Bunyoro sub-regions in northern and western Uganda will likely be below average and delayed until July. In contrast, heavy rainfall caused floods and landslides that have displaced up to 300,000 people and resulted in slight to moderate crop damage in parts of northeastern and western Uganda. Additionally, over 45 districts are under a livestock quarantine to limit the spread of Foot and Mouth Disease, eliminating a source of income. Crop and livestock production is otherwise normal in the rest of bimodal Uganda. In general, agricultural production, low retail food prices, and other food and income sources are sufficient to maintain Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in bimodal areas through September. However, some households that are worst affected by weather shocks may be Stressed (IPC Phase 2), including but not limited to Teso sub-region and the districts of Bukedea, Rakai, and Kasese.  

    • In Karamoja, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are expected to persist on the livelihood-zone level until September. Some of the poorest households are likely in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), particularly in Kaabong and Moroto districts where levels of acute malnutrition are atypically high. The start of the April to September rainfall season was delayed, and heavy rainfall in May has also caused floods and waterlogging, especially in Napak and Kotido districts. The main season harvest is now expected to be below average and delayed until September/October due to late planting, excess water, and households’ low financial capacity to purchase seeds to replant. As a result, the lean season will be extended by two months. Additionally, insecurity along market routes and waterlogged pasture are disrupting access to livestock grazing areas and impeding livestock sales. Cash and in-kind income from other sources, along with wild foods, are inadequate for households to meet their minimum food needs.

    • In rural refugee settlements, which host most of the 1.48 million refugees living in Uganda, humanitarian partners continue to distribute cash or in-kind food assistance to 62 and 38 percent, respectively, of planned beneficiaries. The latest market analysis conducted by WFP and REACH indicates that the cash transfer value (19,000 UGX/person/month) could on average cover 129 percent of the cost of the ration in March. Based on a food basket of maize grain, beans, oil, and salt, this is roughly equivalent to about 18-23 days of food with low dietary diversity. Meanwhile, the monthly in-kind ration is estimated to cover only 18 days, and sources of income to cover remaining food needs remain low across settlements. Further, poor rainfall has delayed the harvest in West Nile settlements. Although food availability will marginally improve with the June/July harvest, WFP warns of further cuts in assistance due to inadequate funding. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are most likely from June to September.

    • April price data show retail maize prices fell by 3-7 percent in rural markets such as Masindi, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, and Mubende. However, Kenya lifted the ban on maize imports from Uganda in May, which was imposed in early March to enforce food safety standards to control mycotoxin levels. Consequently, a rebound in formal maize exports through the Busia border is driving an increase in grain and flour retail prices based on preliminary market reports. Despite this, adequate market supply and the approaching June/July harvest is likely to keep staple food prices near to below the 2020 and five-year averages, thereby enhancing access to food for both urban and rural poor households.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level 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. Learn more here.

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