Food crisis in East Africa

 

Maize is a staple crop in the Hands of Action farm community. In Bududa District, maize has been
severely damaged by drought, a disaster for local farm families.

 

Where is the answer to food crisis in East Africa?

 
Uganda could be the next country hit by alarming malnutrition rates due to the drought which has sparked famine in southern Somalia and hunger in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the United Nations warned on Tuesday.
Reuters: Uganda could be next hit by malnutrition, UN warns

It’s only remaining to declare Uganda, but the reality is that Uganda has already been hit by the drought.  We have just seen the death of sixteen children in one day due to malnutrition in eastern Uganda.    Making matters worse, inflation in Uganda is driving the price of food and other consumable commodities to unbearable levels – prices that the common Ugandan cannot afford.
Daily Monitor: Government under fire over sugar crisis

Maize damaged by drought and insects

 
Boosting Ugandan agriculture is one of the most effective and sure ways to address future food shortages and incidences of hunger.  But the key long-standing challenge to agriculture this year is DROUGHT, which is causing misery in every farmer’s home across Uganda and East Africa.

Famine conditions have been declared in two regions of Somalia in July 2011 where 3.7 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.  Eight million people need food assistance in neighboring countries, including Kenya and Ethiopia.  United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls the situation a “catastrophic combination of conflict, high food prices and drought” and has appealed for immediate aid.

“Will I eat today?”
Uganda is known as a “Food Basket” of east Africa.   But climate change is creating huge problems in Uganda. Altered weather patterns due to climate change has caused a long drought span, causing beans, maize crops, etc, to dry and weaken in the germination stage.  This condition encourages dangerous pests and insects, such as cassava mosaic and banana wilt to attack the plantation. Uganda is no longer a Food Basket. Ugandans now ask “Will I eat today?”.

Prices for commodities in East Africa, in Ugandan currency. Source: Daily Monitor, August 11, 2011

 
Furthermore, fuel inflation greatly effects the costs of food that a person needs to buy.  In Uganda, the daily income of a person in the village is less than one dollar, but 1 kilogram of maize flour has risen from .5$ to 2$ – more than a day’s pay. The cost of sugar has risen from a half dollar to 3.2$ per kilogram.

Orphans with no father and no mother face great danger, as these children are often left to fend for themselves and have nothing to eat. The challenges that have produced the mass of refugees in Somalia, and created crises in Kenya, Sudan and Rwanda, are the same challenges now facing Uganda.  Small harvests and high prices for produce results in starvation in Uganda communities.

Here in our community in Bududa District, we are already seeing much suffering from food shortages.  Our orphanage has been struggling to feed our 180 children, and local people often go several days without food.  Thanks to friends who have made food donations, we have been able to provide simple food for our orphans, but this is a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

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