A new report about food security in urban areas is calling for urgent interventions by government and donors to save more than a quarter of a million people in Kampala from acute food shortage.
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, a globally recognized standard way of measuring food security, projects that between now and December 2020, 15% of Kampala’s population equivalent to a quarter of a million people shall suffer from acute food shortages and therefor need to be helped so they can live better lives or stop selling basic assets to buy food.
A survey for the report that was conducted between June and August, 2020 revealed that as many as 19% of Kampalans suffered from acute food shortages.
The report notes that although the situation was exercabated by the COVID-19 lockdown and transport restrictions, several other factors such as loss of employment, collapse of trade networks, lack of data on who is most affected, have only worsened the situation.
Data gathered between June and August 2020, show that 19 percent of the people in Kampala who were surveyed, reported acute levels of food insecurity.
The report shows that Kawempe and Lubaga divisions were the most affected.
The level of desperation is further illustrated by the fact that six out of 10 households reported selling valuable assets to buy food so they could not starve.
Priya Gujadhur, the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Deputy Country Director said: “ We call for urgent attention and Investment into food production and distribution mechanism to ensure that every household in Uganda has adequate and nutritious food.”
Gujadhur pointed at other non-food factors such as limited maternal care, poor sanitation, poor access to water as critical aspects that need to be addressed to improve food security I urban areas.
Outside Kampala, acute food insecurity was highest in Gulu and Kasese municipality with both recording above 25% of the population in the category of persons requiring urgent food aid.
Although conducted in Uganda since 2007, the IPC report had never focused on urban areas until now.
Experts from both government of Uganda and UN bodies FAO and WFP expressed a sense of urgency to not only make urgent interventions but also find solutions to factors that predispose urban dwellers to vulnerability when shocks hit.
Dr. Esau Galukande, the KCCA Deputy Director of Community Affairs asked government to scale up interventions aimed supporting urban farming.
The World Food Program country director El-Khidir Daloum said the report has given them new beginning to keep monitoring the food security situation in the country.
He said that working with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the United Nations makes 10,000 calls a month to monitor food security in refugee areas, 12 urban areas and Karamoja region.