Typically, Uganda has two good rainy seasons and farmers can easily grow food. In the past two years, this has changed. People in some regions in Uganda are struggling right now with supplies of food and rising costs of crops such as maize and beans. We are hearing of the troubles particularly from our schools in the northern half of the country. The rainy season in March and April was cut short during the planting season. At the boarding schools, the staple food prepared for the students is posho, which is a porridge made from maize-flour and water, cooked to a dough-like consistency over wood stoves. Posho is not very tasty but provides most of the daily nutrition for the hundreds of students at each school. Because of rising costs and lack of maize, some of our schools closed a week early for the summer recess this year because they were not able to prepare enough posho.
The food scarcity is at crisis level in the northeast of Uganda, near the Kenyan border. In the countries in the Horn of Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia), the situation is extreme. This week, Uganda is hosting a meeting of the leaders of these three countries in its capitol city Kampala, to address issues of starvation and food supply, and to increase global awareness of the problems. In response to this food crisis, the United States organization USAID has promised millions of dollars in financial aid to Uganda to help with food crisis. Uganda particularly needs help because it has 1.5 million immigrants from neighboring countries. The Ugandan government supports settled refugee households with full rations of humanitarian food assistance for the first three months, but with food shortage and rising costs, these refugees will suffer this year. So far in 2022, Uganda has received 25,000 new asylum seekers from South Sudan, and 55,000 from the DRC.