Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nine million Ugandans are starving

AllAfrica.com, via the Monitor (Kampala, Uganda): President Yoweri Museveni has revealed that close to nine million Ugandans are starving due to food shortage caused by the effects of climate changes. In a speech read for him by the Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Information and National Guidance, Mr Kirunda Kivejinja during celebrations to mark the World Food Day in Tororo on Thursday, Mr Museveni said at least 213 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are starving due to food shortage.

He said the climate change, which is affecting food production, is a big threat to Uganda's economy. He said the government is improving the meteorological department to enhance climate change forecasts that would give farmers better guidance. "We need to strengthen our meteorological departments so as to be able to give our farmers accurate information on climate change. We have been relying on guesswork most of the time," Mr Museveni said.

Mr Museveni said the government has increased funding to the National Agricultural Advisory Services programmes to help farmers diversify food production. World Food Programme (WFP) representative Hakan Tongul revealed that 700,000 people are facing starvation in Karamoja sub-region. Mr Tongul blamed the ever increasing food prices across the world on bio-energy production which has been on the rise in the past few years.

He, however, noted that though Uganda is not very much affected by the effects of bio-energy production, much of the food produced is exported to neighbouring countries. "It is the neighbouring countries such as Kenya and Sudan that are causing food shortages for Uganda because much of the food produced is taken there," Mr Tongul said…..

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