Higher temperatures and more erratic rainfall caused by climate change threatens to cut harvests in the poorest and hungriest region of Uganda that already depends heavily on food handouts, a study showed on Tuesday.
The study was done by the Ugandan government with the support of the UN World Food Programme (WFP).
It added that half of the population of Uganda’s remote north eastern Karamoja region depends on food aid, due to high levels of poverty and heavy reliance on rainfed agriculture.
“The rainfall pattern has become more erratic, therefore the farmers cannot plan their planting seasons,’’ Siddharth Krishnaswamy, WFP’s chief food security analyst in Uganda, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“Food security remains elusive.’’
People often have to beg, sell livestock or burn charcoal to sell when food runs out in the troubled region, which has a history of clan violence.
It would be 20 times cheaper to invest in climate change adaptation than do nothing, which could cost up to 5.9 billion dollars per year by 2025,
The study recommended greater investment in water harvesting and agroforestry, the cultivation of drought-resistant crops, and giving people information on climate change and its impact.
“The earlier adaptation measures are made the more resilient individuals, communities, organisations and countries will be.’’
The rainy season in Karamoja is now two months longer than it was 35 years ago, researchers found. But the unpredictability of rains had undermined agricultural production.
Most people in Karamoja, particularly women, were not aware that the climate had changed, the study found.
Those who noticed changes rarely took action to adapt to climate change because they did not know how.