Climate Change, Disasters & Food Security in Rural Eastern Uganda

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Eastern Uganda has a history of natural disasters linked with climate change.
1 In 2016 malnutrition was the top risk factor contributing to DALYs (death and disability combined)2 affecting disproportionately rural areas3. Changes in climate patterns threaten to worsen food production4. In addition, in areas of food insecurity, disasters can exacerbate malnutrition. 
 This study aimed to analyse food consumption patterns and dietary diversity in the rural Mbale District, Eastern Uganda. One hundred participants living in the Mbale District, (66 females; 34 males) aged 18–70 years old with the majority (>60 percent) aged 30-40 years old, completed a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The FFQ aimed at collecting data on dietary intake over the previous year in relation to wet and dry seasons. Shapiro-Wilk tests indicated that data were not normally distributed. Wilcoxon tests were performed to determine differences in food consumption between wet and dry seasons. Statistical significance was established at p<0.05. The table below displays food types that showed statistically significant increases in consumption in the wet season compared to the dry season out of the seventeen food items analysed (e.g. maize, cassava, meat, eggs, etc.). Wet Seasonvs.Dry SeasonNumber of meals Matoke Sweet Potatoes Irish Potatoes Beans Groundnuts Vegetables Fruit z-4.951-4.117-3.239-2.953-1.911-2.841-4.780-3.489p<.001*<.001*.001*.003*.056**.005*<.001*<.001**P<0.05; **near significant. Mbale District normally receives enough rainfall for crops; however, the seasonal patterns are expected to become more extreme.
5 Although matoke (savoury banana) and potatoes are the main staples in the region, posho (a dish of maize flour cooked with water to a porridge) and cassava are also consumed. The latter shows little loss as it is more resistant to variability in climate.5 However, beans and groundnuts, the main sources of protein in the diet of rural households, are most sensitive to climate variations with important implications for food security. Their production could be hindered with increasing climate instability.5 This could negatively impact the diet of the most vulnerable: children and women of reproductive age, especially during times of crisis. 1.Osuret J, Atuyambe LM, Mayega RW, et al. (2016) Coping Strategies for Landslide and Flood Disasters: A Qualitative Study of Mt. Elgon Region, Uganda. PLOS Currents Disasters.Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.4250a225860babf3601a18e33e172d8b. 2.Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2016) Uganda.3.Walakira, E.J., D. Muhangi, S. Munyuwiny, et al. (2016) The State of the Ugandan Child – An Analytical Overview. Kampala/Washington DC: USAID/QED4.Uganda Bureau of Statistics & World Food Programme (2013) Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA). 5.J Ramirez-Villegas, Thornton PK (2015) Climate change impacts on African crop production. CCAFS Working Paper no. 119. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2018
Event5th Research Conference Of World Society of Disaster Nursing - University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Duration: 18 Oct 201819 Oct 2018


Conference5th Research Conference Of World Society of Disaster Nursing
Abbreviated titleWSDN


  • food security
  • Malnutrition
  • climate change
  • disasters
  • Uganda


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