Covid-19 effects: More than half of Ugandan households ate less food in June- Twaweza findings

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Twaweza’s Marie Nanyanzi

In May-June this year, in comparison to the previous month, 6 out of 10 Ugandan households report their food consumption got worse.

Rural households (63%), poorer households (72%) and those with lower levels of education (64%) were more likely to face increasing food challenges. At the same time, 2 out of 10 households (18%) report better food consumption than the previous month.

These findings were released by the Food Rights Alliance and Twaweza in a factsheet entitled Livelihoods
under COVID-19: #3 Food supply and consumption.

The factsheet is the third in a three part series of impact assessments based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,600 respondents across Uganda in May and June 2020.

On a number of measures, Ugandans express concerns about and indicate they are short of food. In the
previous month, due to a lack of money or other resources:

 Seven out of ten citizens (70%) report having worried about running out of food

 A majority of citizens (58%) report they have eaten less than they thought they should

 Four out of ten citizens (41%) report that their household ran out of food once or more

 A similar number (41%) report having been hungry but not eating.

 One out of four (25%) report going for a whole day without food

 A majority of citizens (57%) report having been forced to consume only one type of food at least
once

 A similar number (55%) report having reduced the size of adult household members’ meals, and
four out of ten (39%) report doing this with children’s meals.

 Three out of ten households (27%) report that their children have gone hungry

 One out of six (16%) report that a child / children went for a whole day without eating at least
once

Perhaps unsurprisingly, half of households (48%) report that the stocks of food that they currently have
available at their home would last no more than a week, including two out of ten households (21%) that
have no food stored at home. Urban households (51%), poorer households (52-55%) and less-well educated households (49%) are more likely to have a week or less of food stored at home.

Nonetheless 1 out of 3 Ugandans (35%) have food stored that can last them for a month or more.

Food shortages for citizens are accompanied by high prices and unavailability of goods. Three out of four
Ugandans (77%) report that the price of one or more food products rose in the last seven days: 4 out of 10
(40%) see increases in the price of grains and cereals; 3 out of 10 in pulses and other seeds (28%); 2 out of
10 in condiments, spies and baked goods (16%). Three out of ten Ugandans say one or more food
products were unavailable in the same period.

These food challenges are more concerning given that in 6 out of 10 households, child(ren) between 6 and
12 months old eat the same food as adults in the households.

Marie Nanyanzi of Sauti za Wananchi at Twaweza, said: “Again these data are bringing us timely and
powerful insight on how Covid-19 is playing out across our country. The clear message here is that citizens
are hungry. Across a range of measures of experiences and perceptions of food security: large numbers of
Ugandans say they are struggling. Even more worryingly, high proportions of children are missing meals or
eating less which can have long term consequences. It is clear that intervention is needed to support the
people of Uganda to claim their right to food.”

Original Post: WatchDog  Uganda