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Moroto and Kaabong Districts to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through June

  • Food Security Outlook
  • Uganda
  • February - September 2016
Moroto and Kaabong Districts to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through June

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  • Key Messages
  • National Overview
  • Key Messages
    • In bimodal areas, above-average October to December rainfall, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, supported average to above-average crop production. Household food stocks will last through the next harvest in June and households are expected to maintain None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity through at least September.

    • In both bimodal areas and unimodal Karamoja, the upcoming rainy season is forecast to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall with a near normal start in March/April. This is expected to provide agricultural labor opportunities, lead to average harvests, and improve pasture and water resources. 

    • In Moroto and Kaabong Districts, after depleting food stocks four months early in December, very poor households are not able to meet their minimum food needs through typical coping strategies. Very poor households are expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through the end of the lean season and improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in July when green harvests increase food availability. 

    National Overview

    Current Situation

    The harvesting of second season crops in bimodal areas was completed in late January. The September to November second season rains, driven in part by the ongoing El Niño, were largely average with normal spatial and temporal distribution. Many areas also received atypical, above-average rainfall in December. Dry conditions since late December have supported adequate crop drying and other post-harvest activities. Beans, millet, sorghum, and Irish potato harvests were all average, while maize harvests were above average.

    In most bimodal areas, land preparation for first season harvests is underway. However, in West Nile districts, central western districts of Hoima and Masindi, and southern districts of Isingiro, Ntungamo, and Rakai, land preparation has been delayed due to atypical ground surface temperatures of three to seven degrees Celsius above average. Pasture and water resources in these areas are below average, most notably in areas of the cattle corridor.

    Pasture conditions are seasonally deteriorating in both unimodal Karamoja and most bimodal areas. Despite this decline, pasture in most areas remains above average as a result of the previous season’s favorable rainfall. The exceptions to this include the West Nile Region and southwestern Uganda where pasture conditions are deteriorating faster than normal given current above-average temperatures. Overall, livestock body conditions in both bimodal and unimodal areas are seasonally average.

    Staple food prices have remained stable or declined seasonally between December and January. The average to above-average harvests have replenished market stocks since December 2015. Cassava and bean prices have remained stable throughout much of Uganda, while cooking bananas, sorghum, and maize prices have declined in most markets excluding Karamoja.

    Most poor households in bimodal areas maintain None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity. Average to above-average second season harvests have replenished household and market food stocks. Stable food prices and favorable harvests continue to support poor household food availability and access throughout bimodal areas. Furthermore, seasonal activities including dry planting and land preparation for first season harvests are taking place at typical levels, providing poor households with income-earning opportunities. Households that rely on the market for food are able to purchase adequate food to meet minimum requirements.

    In unimodal Karamoja, many poor households are experiencing an atypically long lean season. Most poor households in Karamoja depleted food stocks from the previous below-average harvest by December. Typically, food stocks from own production are not exhausted until March. With the depletion of food stocks and deteriorating terms of trade (TOT) for firewood/charcoal-to-cereals, some households in Moroto, Napak, Kaabong, Nakapiripirit, and Kotido Districts worsened from Stressed (IPC Phase 2) to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in December and are still in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Over 20 percent of very poor households in Moroto and Kaabong are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3).

    Safety nets programs are ongoing for the vulnerable throughout Karamoja. Currently the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food assistance to 150,000 vulnerable households on a 45-60 day cycle, 100,000 children through school feeding programs, 23,000 children aged 6-56 months through clinic feeding programs for the treatment of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM), 40,000 children under 2 years with supplementary feeding through a conditional Mother and Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) program, and 198,000 people through cash-for-food/food-for-work programmes. The Resiliency through Wealth, Agriculture, and Nutrition (RWANU) project under ACDI/VOCA is providing supplementary food rations to 16,000 households in Amudat, Moroto, Napak, and Nakapiripirit districts, while the Growth, Health and Governance (GHG) project under Mercy Corps is supporting 13,000 households in Abim, Kotido, and Kaabong with supplementary food rations. The Government of Uganda through the Office of the Prime Minister is providing additional food assistance to vulnerable households identified through local community members.

    The number of refugees in Uganda from the region continues to increase. Civil conflicts in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan have driven an increasing number of people to seek refuge in Uganda. An estimated 18,000 refugees from the region entered Uganda in January 2016. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of the end of February, Uganda is hosting 210,214 refugees from South Sudan (187,731 post December 2013),  33,036 refugees from Burundi (21,844 post January 2015), and 191,843 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, bringing the total number of refugees in Uganda to 495,594. The Uganda Government and host communities allocate land to refugees in designated settlements and as a result refugees rely on own production as a source of food, in addition to assistance from agencies including WFP, World Vision, and Samaritan’s Purse.


    Between February and September 2016, the projected food security outcomes are based on the following key assumptions:

    • Prices of most staples are expected remain stable through March following increased market supplies from the December/January second season harvests. After March, maize and sorghum prices are expected to follow seasonal trends and increase by 10 to 20 percent as market supplies start to decline and market demand increases. Price increases upwards of 25 percent are expected in June and early July before first season green/dry harvest become available, after which staple prices are expected to seasonally decrease through September.   
      • Average crop sales in July and August are expected to provide households typical levels of income.
    • In bimodal areas, the March to May/June first rainy season is likely to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall with a near normal start.
    • In bimodal areas, the June to July first season harvest of staples including maize, sorghum, and beans is expected to be average, providing households with sufficient food stocks to last until the second season harvest.
    • In bimodal areas, the start of the second season short rains in August/September is expected to be near normal.
    • In unimodal Karamoja, the April to September rainy season is expected to be near average in terms of cumulative rainfall, with a near normal start, tending towards above average at the end of the season.
    • It is expected rainfall will be influenced by the ongoing El Niño, which is forecast to weaken and transition to ENSO-neutral conditions in late spring to early summer.
    • The availability of agricultural labor opportunities is expected at typical levels in both Karamoja and bimodal areas.
    • Maize exports to Kenya are projected to remain stable through June 2016, reaching an estimated 425,000 metric tons (MT), above the three-year (2013-2015) average.
    • Maize and sorghum exports to South Sudan are expected to continue to increase through June 2016, having been on an upward trend since April 2014. However, export levels still remain low compared to pre-conflict levels and are estimated to total between 25,000-30,000 MT by June 2016. Continued conflict in South Sudan and the depreciation of the South Sudanese Pound may lead to lower-than-expected export levels.
    • Pasture conditions will likely be average in both bimodal areas and unimodal Karamoja throughout the outlook period, supported by an average first rainy season.
      • Average livestock body conditions, normal conception and birth rates (March through May), and average milk production are expected throughout the outlook period.
      • Livestock trade and market functioning are expected to continue at normal levels.
    • It is likely displaced persons from Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo will continue seeking refuge in Uganda throughout the outlook period. Refugees arriving after February will have missed land preparation and planting and it is expected they will be heavily reliant on humanitarian food aid throughout the outlook period.

    Most Likely Food Security Outcomes

    In bimodal areas, households are expected to maintain None (Phase 1) acute food insecurity through September. Household food stocks from the previous November to December second season harvest are likely to last through May. With the expected timely start of first season rains in March, food security will be further supported by the likely average first season harvest available in July, and green harvests available in June. Poor households are expected to earn typical levels of income through normal livelihood activities including the sale of poultry, pretty trade, and casual labor. Most households will be able to meet both their food and non-food needs without engaging in coping strategies. Minimal (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity is expected for all bimodal areas through September.

    An increased number of poor households in Karamoja are expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the March to June lean season. Most poor households have no food stocks and are relying primarily on markets to buy food, although many lack sufficient income to purchase adequate food and non-food needs. Most areas are expected to remain in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) throughout the lean season; however, an increasing number of households in Moroto, Kaabong, Nakapiripirit, and Napak will deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with over 20 percent of very poor households in Kaabong and Moroto expected to remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Households in Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) are expected to intensify their use of coping strategies, including the sale of firewood and charcoal, wild food gathering, and labor migration. Most households will be able to consume at least one meal a day during the lean season consisting of sorghum or maize and occasionally beans and cassava. The prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) is expected to increase through the remainder of the lean season and decline starting in July with increased food availability. Most households will either improve to, or remain in, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) starting in July with increased income-earning opportunities and the availability of green harvests. It is expected the majority of poor households will remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through at least September. However, the Central Sorghum and Livestock livelihood zone in Abim is expected to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1). This area on average receives greater amounts of rainfall, resulting in higher yields and allowing for additional short-cycle crop production. With the forecast average rainfall, households in this area are expected to have adequate crop production to sustain None (IPC Phase 1) acute food insecurity.


    Figure 1


    Source: FEWS NET

    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.

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