Uganda hosts the largest population of refugees and asylum-seekers in Africa. As of November 2017 nearly 1.4 million refugees and asylum-seekers have sought shelter in Uganda, including more than 1 million South Sudanese. Furthermore, 61 percent of the refugee population in Uganda is under 18 years of age.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), food availability and prices have improved as a result of the harvest in the Karamoja Region, which will continue until December. Most households face Minimal (IPC 1)* levels of food insecurity, including poor households in the southwest and northeast that were previously experiencing Stressed (IPC 2) levels earlier in 2017. Food security has also improved in Karamoja, Uganda’s poorest sub-region, and most poor households in the region are consuming more food than usual during this time of the year; food security among households previously facing Crisis (IPC 3) levels during the March-to-July lean season, particularly in Moroto, Napak and Kaabong districts, have improved to Stressed (IPC 2) levels
The UN World Food Program (WFP) provides emergency food assistance to newly arrived refugees; however, due to funding constraints WFP has had to limit its distribution to refugees who arrived in Uganda prior to July 2015. Most South Sudanese refugees in Uganda would face Crisis (IPC 3) levels of food insecurity without food assistance, as livelihood options are limited.
According to FEWS NET, Fall Armyworm—an invasive pest that in Uganda primarily adversely affects maize and has damaged food crops across Africa—has been reported during the fall agricultural season in many parts of the country, with the majority of reports coming from eastern and western maize growing areas. However, FEWS NET reports indicate that the impact on crop production is less significant due to increased pest management and prevention.
With USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP) support, WFP has provided emergency food assistance to more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum-seekers in northern and southwestern Uganda. FFP’s contributions to WFP, which include both U.S. inkind food and locally and regionally purchased food, provide families with enough to eat and prevent and treat acute malnutrition among the refugees and asylum-seekers.
In collaboration with Catholic Relief Services and Mercy Corps, FFP also supports food-insecure Ugandans through two development food security activities in Karamoja. In partnership with the AVSI Foundation, FFP supports a graduation activity in the southwestern district of Kamwenge targeting refugees and host community members. These activities target over 704,000 individuals and aim to increase access to food, strengthen governance and gender equity, improve the nutritional status of children and pregnant and lactating women, and reduce the incidence of conflict through a variety of activities that support self-reliance and resilience.