Uganda has an estimated population of 34 million growing at 3.6 percent annually. Uganda has made significant progress over the past two decades in terms of macro-economic growth and human development. The proportion of people living in poverty declined from 38.8 percent in 2002/2003 to 24.5 percent in 2009/2010.

But Uganda remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita of US$1,124. Despite the discovery of significant oil reserves, which are expected to boost economic growth in the years to come, Uganda ranked 161 out of 186 countries on the 2013 UNDP Human Development Index.

Undernutrition continues to be a concern. The proportion of children under 5 years of age who are stunted remains high at 33 percent, and the numbers of underweight and wasted children are in the medium range at 14 percent and 5 percent respectively. Although food availability is not a major problem, food access and utilization are inadequate in many locations.

Uganda’s northeastern Karamoja region is known for its chronic food insecurity and vulnerability to hunger, as well as very poor access to basic social services such as education and health. Families’ ability to meet their basic nutritional requirements continues to be undermined by a combination of chronic underdevelopment and recurrent drought in Karamoja, coupled with persistent insecurity associated with cattle rustling. The level of poverty in northern Uganda, which includes Karamoja, is the highest in the country at 46 percent. Karamoja has the highest levels of acute and chronic malnutrition in the country, with 7 percent wasting and 45 percent stunting among children under 5.

Uganda hosts over 200,000 refugees who have fled violence and unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, South Sudan and other countries in the region.

WFP activities

WFP’s strategy in Uganda is based on three priorities: emergency humanitarian action; food and nutrition security; and agriculture and market support, which includes the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative. These priorities are addressed through two complimentary WFP operations, a Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRR0 200429) and a Country Programme (CP 108070).

The goal of the PRRO is to assist individuals who cannot meet their basic food and nutrition security needs. These are extremely vulnerable households in Karamoja, refugees in the western and southwestern parts of Uganda, and severely and moderately malnourished individuals in Karamoja and among the refugee population. The key activities under this operation include targeted food distributions and nutrition support through supplementary and therapeutic feeding.

Under the CP, WFP aims to assist two categories of beneficiaries. The first category consists of communities that have emerged from crises but are still struggling to meet their food and nutrition needs and remain vulnerable to shocks. The beneficiaries comprise of post-conflict communities in the sub regions of Teso, Lango, Acholi and Karamoja.  Key programmatic areas include strengthening rural livelihoods, disaster risk reduction and mitigation, as well as initiatives aimed at addressing chronic hunger, including school meals and mother-and-child health and nutrition programmes. The second category consists of individuals who can meet their basic food and nutrition needs but require increased incomes to become fully food-secure. People in this category are small-holder farmers who can produce surplus crops, mainly in eastern, northern, western parts of the country. Activities under this component of the CP include construction and rehabilitation of market infrastructure such as community warehouses, training in post-harvest handling, and the purchase of surplus produce grown by the smallholders.