Opinions

FOOD CRISIS DETERIORATES THE LIVES OF PEOPLE IN KARAMOJA

By Guest Writer

Out of the 15 regions in Uganda, Karamoja is one of the poorest with income poverty at 61% and food poverty at 70% (UNHS, 2016/2017).  The population is mainly rural with livelihoods grounded on livestock and crop production that mainly rely on rain waters.

The region has continued to have the highest food insecurity as children are feeding on raw sorghum and families are harvesting the premature crops as most of them cannot even afford 1000 Ugandan shilling.

The Napak Local Government report reveals that 46 percent of the people have died of hunger and over 2000 households are at the verge of starving as of 11th July 2022.

This is so absurd watching people die of hunger in a world of plenty.  This does not only affect their livelihoods but rather infringe on their human right to adequate food.

The Prime Minister Robina Nabanjja promised the residents of Karamoja to be distributed with more food nonetheless, the government’s response has been very slow in responding to people’s needs and this forced the Karamoja leaders to take the alternative way of requesting for food relief inform of donations from the well-wishers so that the vulnerable lactating, pregnant mothers and children can be rescued.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) assembled the relief food of 2.5 turns of posho and 2.5 turns of beans on Wednesday, 13th 2022 as the government also offered 400 bags of posho and 200 bags of beans as of July 14TH, 2022 in Napak district where people have been severely hit by hunger. Though, the food supply exercise requires to be quickened before the situation claims more lives of people.

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The World Food Programme on food security indicates that 41% of the households were also facing high levels of a cute food insecurity by April 2022 but little was done in rescuing people from hunger. It is therefore important for a country like Uganda to work towards achieving   the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2 that emphasizes Zero Hunger.

This can only be achieved once the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in line with other relevant ministries work hand in hand with the  government to ensure that the long-term solutions are implemented on time and these long term solutions should  include executing Climate Smart Agriculture approach that promotes farming practices such as diversification of crop varieties, conservation agriculture, integrated pest management, post-harvest management, increasing access to improved farming skills and technologies plus strengthening links with the private sector to facilitate access to agricultural inputs from seeds to solar water pumps that is sustainable in increasing food production.

Additionally, the government should invest more in disaster risk reduction especially in vulnerable communities to mitigate the potential losses in the wake of disasters since the vulnerable communities usually engage in subsistence agriculture that produces food basically for human consumption.

Least but not last, the vulnerable households need to improve on their food storage systems and this can only be done through the introduction of solar dryers so that the harvested food can be stored for future consumption in case the disasters keep on occurring.

Finally, the people of Karamoja need to be availed with tractors to make their farming easy since they are blessed with fertile soils although the land is very dry. This will enable them increase on food production therefore becoming self-reliant.

The writer is Hildah Nsimiire, Research Fellow at Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS)

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