Opinion
Climate change affecting food security
Publish Date: Apr 02, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By Phionah Sanyu

Uganda’s economy is largely agricultural. This means that agriculture being the core sector has, for a long time, significantly contributed to the country’s GDP and employment.

The Uganda Statistical Abstract (2013) sites the agricultural sector as the major source of employment, engaging about 66% of the country’s population which derives its livelihood from it.  On the one hand the National Development Plan (NDP) (2010/11-2014/15) recognises agriculture sector as having the potential to significantly increase it contribution to economic growth and poverty reduction agenda.

On the other hand, despite the many reforms that have been implemented in the agriculture sector, growth in the sector there remains slow, largely because the sector receives less than 4% of the national budget.

Furthermore, while Uganda’s population predominantly survives on agriculture, there have been changes in the climatic patterns that have affected food production.

The 2nd Chronic Poverty Report notes that the poor people have been vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change because of their fragile resilience and limited ability to adapt, their dependence on natural resources and their limited capacity to adapt, which is heightened by weak national systems that make many people who are currently vulnerable or are in transitory poverty are at risk of staying in chronic poverty.

Uganda, like the other East African Countries, has ratified the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and Kyoto Protocol that guided the development of the East African Community (EAC) Climate Change Master Plan.

The EAC countries have also used Climate Risk Management (CRM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) approaches to reduce the degree of vulnerability and increase capacity of communities.

The DRR approaches offer options for prevention, mitigation and preparedness to adverse impacts of natural hazards in some of its interventions. For instance, strengthening regional meteorological and hydrological services and improving climate early warning systems to promote efficient management and utilisation of natural resources, including protection of vulnerable ecosystems. Despite this, most of the countries don’t have long term responses to disasters.

In Uganda, the National Disaster Preparedness and Management Policy has not effectively been responsive to managing disaster hence increased vulnerability of the affected population.

It is, therefore, worth noting that while agriculture remains critical to Uganda’s economy, the climatic changes’ effect on temperatures and precipitationhave remained a threat to the economy.

The threats include; change in seasons which have not only affected agriculture production, but also the weather patterns. These in turn have been manifested in form of floods and droughts, affecting the poor, who tend to be the ones that live on land that is prone to flooding.

They have been forced to live in temporary shelters during storms and landslides as is the case of people living around Mt Elgon in Eastern Uganda, who have been victims to mudslides, specifically in Bududa.  The communities prone to these threats have continually become poorer as most of them have been displaced and resettled in internally displaced camps.

This has not only affected their productivity but has meant that drought and floods have greatly contributed to food insecurity which has resulted into severe malnutrition among the population especially the children less than five years.

The Government of Uganda and the East African Community are called upon to urgently ensure that their early warning systems and disaster preparedness and management policies are effectively responsive to predict and manage disasters and increased vulnerability of their affected people.

The writer is a social analyst


RELATED STORIES

Climate change 'boosts conflict risk, hunger'

MDGs ‘fail on climate change’

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
This Interns’ Mess and its Implications for Policy Makers
For any hospital intern, the word “mess” always evokes positive sentiments. It was the place where one had their meals, where one went to relax after a long shift and where one went to share with colleagues on complicated cases. Yet it is not in this cheerful sense that I would know....
Land as a precious resource given by God to man
Stretching back to Biblical and Holly Quran teachings, emphasis on equity, love and justice are clearly mentioned and emphasised....
Should EAC look beyond the Greece debt crisis to China?
The sh3.3 trillion infrastructural budget, for instance, heavily relies on Chinese public and private sector funds and lending....
How Muhakanizi is ploting to end hemorrhage of public funds
Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury Keith Muhakanizi is such a blunt man....
Uganda’s economy is on track
Lately, the public has been awash with myths and self-invented theories about the economy, the depreciation of the shilling....
Uganda’s hero doctors without monetary and tribal borders
I shuddered to imagine how my 90 year-old mother and her grandchildren would care for an incontinent patient at home....
Do you think Ugandan graduates are the worst in the region?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter