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Below-average second season harvests likely to limit seasonal food security improvements

  • Key Message Update
  • Uganda
  • November 2021
Below-average second season harvests likely to limit seasonal food security improvements

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • In bimodal areas, cumulative below-average second season rainfall - ranging from 70 to 85 percent of average since October and only 30 to 60 percent of normal rainfall in the first half of November - is likely to negatively affect the maturing stage of most cereals and legumes. As a result of the poorly distributed rainfall, the availability of green harvests is less than usual. Pasture and water availability is also slightly below average in localized areas in the southwest cattle corridor and parts of the central zone. Although harvests will be slightly below average, increased food availability in December is still expected to support Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes in most rural areas. However, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are likely in parts of northern Uganda where this poor harvest will be the second consecutive below-average harvest and poor households are likely facing difficulty meeting their non-food needs amid below-average access to crops for consumption and sale.  

    • In Karamoja, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes persist in the districts of the Central Sorghum and Livestock livelihood zone following the significantly below-average seasonal harvests in 2021 that are not expected to replenish typical household food stocks. Minimal harvests and safety net programs by WFP are contributing to food access, but poor households continue to face slight to moderate food consumption gaps given the low harvests alongside below-average and declining firewood/charcoal-to-cereal terms of trade. Livestock thefts and related insecurity is expected to limit income from animal sales for some, as well as the movement of livestock during the dry season. The lean season is expected to arrive earlier than usual (by December).

    • Seasonally declining food stocks at market and household levels, anticipation of a consecutive delayed and slightly below average national production, the holiday season, speculation of schools reopening, and the rising global oil prices, have led to rising prices for produce such as sorghum, cooking bananas, cassava, and sweet potatoes. Prices were above last year and five-year average levels in September and October. However, bean retail prices were about 14 percent below the five-year average. Exports to deficit countries in the region are expected to increase in 2021/22 despite below-average harvests in many countries and below-average Q3 quantities compared to Q2. Nonetheless, staple exports to Kenya and South Sudan were higher in Q1 and Q2 of 2021 compared to the Q1 and Q2 of 2020. Staple prices are likely to be higher than typical post-harvest levels in December and January by at least 10 percent.

    • According to UNHCR/OPM, Uganda hosts roughly 1,549,181 refugees mostly from South Sudan and DRC as of October 31. In early November, over 11,000 Congolese refugees crossed into Uganda through Bunagana and Kibaya border points fleeing insecurity and conflict in North Kivu’s Rutshuru territory. Despite closed borders, Uganda granted the refugees entry. Although below-average, harvests are contributing a proportion of total food needs for many refugee households. Furthermore, with humanitarian food assistance ranging from 40-70 percent of kilocalorie needs complementing some harvests and market purchases, most refugees are likely meeting their basic kilocalorie needs, though continue to face difficulty meeting their non-food needs. As a result, Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes represent FEWS NET’s updated analysis at the area-level. Some refugees likely continue to face food consumption gaps even in the presence of humanitarian food assistance, though available evidence on acute malnutrition and mortality suggests that the population facing consumption deficits in the presence of food assistance is likely under the 20 percent that defines area-level classifications. Key to note is that – in the absence of food assistance - refugees would face consumption gaps indicative of at least Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes.

    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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