The government has asked the Ministry of Finance to allocate Sh300b to address food insecurity that has hit several parts of the country.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre yesterday, the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr Chris Baryomunsi, said the country needs to scale up food production.
According to the food insecurity outlook released by the government, Karamoja tops the drought stricken sub-regions at 41 percent followed by Teso (21 percent) and Acholi (19 percent).
Other drought stricken sub-regions include Buganda at 17 percent and Bunyoro, Ankole and Kigezi with 4.2 percent respectively.
Dr Baryomunsi said the government will promote the growing of food crops such as maize, sorghum and beans, with mobilisation of key institutions and individuals to engage in the activity on a large scale.
The identified institutions include Uganda Prisons Services, Uganda People’s Defence Forces, National Enterprise Corporation, and National Agricultural Research Organisation.
“Cabinet agreed to support the proposed interventions of partnering with large scale commercial farmers and entities for mass production of strategic commodities to guarantee food and animal feed security,” he said.
The minister added that the government institutions will be given grants and private large scale farmers shall receive interest free loans.
The government plans to grow maize on 114,219 acres, soya beans on 59,000, beans on 22,810 acres, and sorghum on 2,720 acres, all covering 224,650 acres.
The approved Shs300b is slated to cover two seasons starting from August to December and the first season of next year.
Food insecurity has been instigated by the long dry spells and high fuel prices, which has seen skyrocketing commodities prices. This prompted the Agriculture ministry to draft a plan, but they lacked the funding.
The Daily Monitor last month reported that eight in every 10 Karimojong households have no or limited food.
Leaders in the cattle keeping sub-region claim hunger-related diseases have killed more than 900 residents since the start of the year, with the misery made worse by incessant raids and massive crop failure.
Mr Lote Paul Kodet, the Kotido chairperson, last month said the district had lost 626 residents, mainly elders and children aged 3 and 6, to hunger-related causes since February.
At the same press conference, the minister opened up on the Cabinet’s decision to pass principles for the amendment of the Animal Diseases Act and further directed the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to draft a Bill for considerations.
Dr Baryomunsi said the Bill intends to address the gaps identified in the current framework for animal prevention and control, promote quality and safety of food from animals as well as enhance trade in animals and their products.
“This is an old Act of 1964, which was slightly amended in 2000 and a lot of things have since changed. There is a need to amend it so that we can capture issues to do with disease prevention and control,” he said.
Among the approved principles for amendment included; aligning the Animal Disease Act with the World Organization for Animal Health standards, strengthening prevention and control of animal diseases, establishment of laboratory services and tightening in the penalties for those contravening the Act and Regulations.