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Uganda Food Security Outlook, February to September 2020

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Threat of locusts and atypically high staple prices to impact food security outcomes

KEY MESSAGES

  • In bimodal areas, irregular off-season rainfall is encouraging early field preparation activities for the March-May season. Given the forecast for above-average rainfall, favorable crop and livestock production is expected to support normal seasonal access to food and income, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes anticipated through September. However, households affected by flooding and landslides in the previous season are expected to experience Stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse outcomes through September due to inadequate resources to support access to food and income.

  • In early February, small swarms of adult locusts invaded the Karamoja region from Kenya and have since spread to several northeastern and eastern bimodal areas. Given the agricultural offseason, damage to crops has thus far been minimal. However, risk-averse farmers in affected villages are expected to delay planting. While additional, larger swarms from Kenya and successful hatching of eggs laid in Ugandan territory pose a risk to first-season crop production, current forecasts of wind direction and use of aerial spraying are likely to reduce locust presence in Uganda prior to crop development, limiting damage and significant economic loss.

  • Atypical increases in staple food prices nationwide are expected to constrain food access among poor households in Karamoja and disaster-affected households in eastern and western Uganda. Retail prices of beans, maize, and sorghum continued to increase in most markets in January. Prices are expected to remain atypically high through June when new harvests from bimodal areas are expected to boost supplies. Meanwhile, given stable or declining seasonal incomes, terms of trade for staple foods are expected to decline during this time.