KAMPALA – Government has allocated UGX40bn for food relief in Karamoja and other districts that are facing acute food shortage in the country.
Mr John Byabagambi, the minister of Karamoja Affairs made the announcement on Friday while touring projects funded by Northern Uganda Social Action Fund phase III in Karamoja region.
Mr. Byabagambi said government has taken note of the situation on the ground and has decided to act swiftly before it escalates.
He said government released the Shs40b last week after Cabinet approved it and that Karamoja region takes a lion’s share of the money.
“We have already started procuring food and I’m sure by next week, general food distribution in Karamoja will start,” he said.
He urged the people to remain calm as government starts the process of food distribution once the procurement is done.
Karamoja has been experiencing food shortages since the beginning of this year as a result of dry spells that hit the region since last year.
Most families in the region have been either having a meal a day or stay hungry the whole day.
Earlier in the year, the World Food Programme that has been helping the families suspended food distribution to pregnant women and malnourished children after hundreds of people were admitted as a result of taking the poisoned fortified super cereal.
Reports on the ground indicate that out of the eight districts in the region, Abim district is the only district where most families can still afford two meals a day because of its fertile soils.
Mr. Byabagambi said government was very much aware that hunger was affecting many households in Karamoja due to last year’s draught.
He also warned the Karamojong men from staying idle while their women toil to feed the families, saying this is the biggest cause of hunger in the region.
“The culture that gives women too much workload in the home while men just loiter should be rejected because it’s the cause of hunger in Karamoja,” he said.
According to the Karimojong tradition, women take responsibility for providing food for the family, build houses, feed on children while men provide security and look after livestock.
But currently, most families do not have livestock due to previous cattle rustling and men are still keeping away from domestic responsibility.
Mr. Byabagambi also handed over 175 heads of cattle to the Pokot community in Amudat.
The animals were procured by the Office of the Prime Minister under the ongoing restocking program.
He warned them against cattle theft which he said was frustrating government efforts geared to fight poverty in Karamoja.