Rising temperatures due to climate change could see Uganda lose over 260 billion Shilling (US$76 million) by 2050, warns the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in its latest communiqué.
Marking this year: World Food Day on 16 October, the UN agency noted that more than 90 percent of all natural disasters facing humanity today are related to climate change. It cautioned that the effects of climate change will continue to have a negative impact on environment, natural resources and development initiatives. This, the agency said, would have a disproportionate bearing on the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Poverty afflicted families living in rural areas and depending on agriculture for food and livelihood would end by bearing the brunt of climate change.
According to FAO, there has been a 0.2 degree Celsius increase in temperatures every decade in Uganda since 1960 and this may increase by up to 5.3 degree Celsius by 2080. The increase in temperatures increases transpiration and water loss from soils, thereby destroying seedlings and crops.
"There are projections of rainfall decrease by 133mm to 188mm by 2080 and also a shift of seasons. The cumulative losses and damages could cost Uganda Shs260 billion between 2010 and 2050,"said Alhaji M. Jallow, FAO's country representative in Uganda. Reiterating this, the Director-General of the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO), Dr. Ambrose Agona, said: "The drought we experienced this year caused many farmers to lose up to 100 percent of some their other crops."
The UN agency urged the government of Uganda to urgently address food and agriculture in climate action plans and invest more in rural development. Briefing Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, during celebrations on World Food Day, Mr. Jallow recommended strengthening the resilience of smallholder farmers. He added that the FAO envisages a world in which food and agricultural systems and dependent livelihoods become resilient to impacts of climate change, through appropriate measures and positive options.