Minister for Karamoja Affairs Janet Kataha Museveni has told Parliament that the overall food security situation in Karamajoa is poor but not extreme.
In a statement to explain the hunger situation in Karamoja Janet Museveni stated that the situation is more severe in Kaboong, Moroto and Napak district out of the seven districts in Karamoja region. She blames this on the fragile nature of environment and climate of Karamoja that is being aggravated by the negative effects of global warming and climate change.
The region experienced a prolonged dry spell from the month of May to June this year after failed harvests. The Karamoja affairs minister however states that the dry spell is not only being experienced in Karamoja but also in varying degrees of severity in other parts of the country and the East African region as a whole.
In her statement Janet Museveni notes that four years ago, over 75 percent of the households in Karamoja were dependent on food aid for survival and were not producing anything at all. Today only 10 percent are categorized as highly vulnerable households and are in need of food aid.
She revealed that a detailed assessment was done in Kabong district on 13th to 17th of May by government together with development partners and humanitarian agencies. It was found that the stress levels of food security in all the districts of Karamoja highlighted the severity in the districts of Kabong, Napak, Kotido and Moroto.
The Ministry then dispatched 400 bags of maize flour and 150 bags of beans to Kabong, 300 bags of maize flour and 100 bags of beans to Moroto, 300 bags of maize and 100 bags of maize to Kotido and 300 bags of maize and 100 bags of beans to Abim district in the months of May and June.
On the 9th of July another 300 bags of maize flour and 100 bags of beans were dispatched to Kabong district. Government also sent 240 bags of fortified food and 40 cartons of vegetable oil for therapeutic feeding to the districts of Napak, Moroto, Kotido and Kabong.
There are plans to distribute 6000 metric tonnes of food in the months of July and August.
Janet Museveni believes that after security, food production in Karamoja remains the top most priority. There is also need to open more land for production, diversifying on food crops and better livestock farming, harvesting water for production, elimination of dependence on food aid and boosting the school feeding programme as solutions to Karamoja’s problems.
Achia Terence MP Bokora County describes the situation in Karamoja as deplorable and recommended developing an irrigation system. He was supported by Lolem Akasile MP Upe County who said Karamoja has enough water sources that can be used to irrigate the area.
Other MP’s questioned why government is not taking advantage of the dams set up in the region to increase production in the area.
This week MP’s from the region appealed to government to declare the area a disaster area considering it has claimed over 30 lives.
Jacob Oulanyah the deputy Speaker directed Minister Kataha to ensure there is a clear updating process for the house to know what is happening in Karamoja and the interventions made.