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Food security in Uganda: a dilemma to achieving the millennium development goal


  • Ssewanyana, Sarah N.
  • Kasirye, Ibrahim


The status of food security in Uganda is worrying. The share of Ugandans suffering from food insecurity measured in terms of caloric intake is alarmingly high with low rates of income poverty. Based on the 2005/06 Uganda National Household Survey data, the study provides insights into access to food at household level. More importantly, the study shows that average caloric intake stood at 1,970 calories per person per day, which is below the minimum caloric requirement of 2,200 calories. As such, a population of 17.5 million Ugandans in 3.1 million households were unable to meet the minimum caloric requirement in 2006. This raises questions on whether Uganda will be able to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 1: halving extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. While Uganda is on track to halve extreme poverty, it is less likely to halve extreme hunger by 2015. Yet the results suggest that food insecurity and income poverty are closely linked. Similarly, food insecurity at household level is closely linked to child nutrition status. In other words, antipoverty interventions and interventions to address food insecurity and child nutrition status have to be closely linked. The results further suggest that income growth, land under cultivation, changes in food prices and education attainment of household head significantly impact on caloric intake. There are significant seasonal fluctuations in dietary intakes – calories and protein. Improving post harvest storage technologies and preservation methods; creating remunerative employment especially for the urban population; and strengthening the food distribution mechanisms would go a long way in addressing these seasonal fluctuations. Food insecurity is also marked with significant spatial variations that need to be taken into account in designing anti‐food insecurity interventions. The famine that hit some districts during 2009 demonstrates that adverse effects on the agricultural sector directly increase vulnerability to food insecurity. At the same time, increasing land under cultivation improves food security at household level. This suggests that improving agricultural productivity is a key to long‐term food security.

Suggested Citation

  • Ssewanyana, Sarah N. & Kasirye, Ibrahim, 2010. "Food security in Uganda: a dilemma to achieving the millennium development goal," Research Series 113614, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eprcrs:113614
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.113614

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hoddinott, John & Yohannes, Yisehac, 2002. "Dietary diversity as a food security indicator," FCND discussion papers 136, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Todd Benson & Samuel Mugarura & Kelly Wanda, 2008. "Impacts in Uganda of rising global food prices: the role of diversified staples and limited price transmission," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 39(s1), pages 513-524, November.
    3. Simler, Kenneth R., 2010. "The short-term impact of higher food prices on poverty in Uganda," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5210, The World Bank.
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    1. Betty, Mbolanyi & Anthony, Egeru & David, Mfitumukiza, 2017. "Determinants of household food security in a rangeland area of Uganda," African Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD), AFrican Journal of Rural Development (AFJRD), vol. 2(2), June.
    2. Chepchirchir, R. & Macharia, I. & Murage, A.W. & Midega, C.A.O. & Khan, Z.R., 2016. "Impact assessment of push-pull technology on incomes, productivity and poverty among smallholder households in Eastern Uganda," 2016 Fifth International Conference, September 23-26, 2016, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 246316, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).
    3. Buyinza, Faisal, 2011. "Performance and Survival of Ugandan Manufacturing firms in the context of the East African Community," Research Series 150477, Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).
    4. Van Campenhout, Bjorn & Ssekabira, Haruna & Aduayom, Dede H., 2014. "Consumption bundle aggregation in poverty measurement: Implications for poverty and its dynamics in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 150, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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