Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, quoting a new report National Food Security Assessment report disclosed that 26 percent of Uganda’s population is facing stressed food insecurity, meaning they just have enough food and are unable to afford some essential food expenditures. It also showed that 10.9 million people in the country are experiencing acute food insecurity, of which 1.6 million are in a crisis situation. “Food security across the country is deteriorating. The current food insecurity situation, when compared with the last two reports of November 2015 and July 2016, shows an increase in the percentage of the country’s population that is in Phase 2 (stress level of food security),” the report said. It said the increasing demand for food in external markets and the influx of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda have worsened the situation.
The Chinese government donated 5,983 MT of rice through Chinese ambassador to Uganda’s prime minister in Kampala on Tuesday. The Chinese Ambassador, Zheng Zhu Qiang, said his government has been concerned about the poor harvest caused by El Nino in many African countries including Uganda since last year. “Many Ugandans are in need of food. We take Ugandans as our brothers and sisters. Food security and agricultural development are always a priority for the Chinese government,” Zhu Qiang said. “I believe that with the effort of the Ugandan government, all these donated food will be distributed to the people very soon,” he further added.
Rugunda expressed his gratitude to the Chinese government for the humanitarian support and said his government had earmarked 25 billion shillings (7.1 million U.S. dollars) to purchase relief food for the food-stressed population. The rice donation to Uganda is part of the 1 billion yuan (about 150 million U.S. dollars) humanitarian relief China had pledged to African countries, affected by poor harvest caused by El Nino. China over the years has provided agricultural aid to Uganda especially in the rice sector which has helped the country become a major rice producer in Africa.