70% of Ugandan households hungry without food – Survey

70% of Ugandan households hungry without food - Survey
67 percent of Ugandan households said they were hungry but had nothing to eat. Courtesy Photo

Ugandan households are scared about poverty and food insecurity according to a survey that was carried out by Uwezo in the last three months. The findings of the survey were released on Thursday at Hotel Africana.

The Sauti za Wananchi or Voices of the Citizens survey shows that poverty and food insecurity are the main problems that households in the country are facing at the moment.

The survey was carried out from October last year. A mobile phone was placed in 2,000 households around the country and on a monthly basis, data was recorded about their financial situation at the given time.

According to the survey, majority of Ugandans have faced food insecurity in the past three months. Seven people out of 10 say that they had to skip a meal because of lack of food, 69 per cent said that their households ran out of food, 67 per cent said they were hungry but had nothing to eat while 85 per cent were worried about running out of food in the past three months.

Marie Nanyanzi, Sauti za Wananchi officer and lead researcher, says that the findings show that Ugandans are not happy with their state of being.

“This data reveals a very challenging picture. Our citizens are hungry and are struggling financially. And a large majority is unhappy with the way in which the economy is being managed,” said Nanyanzi.

The survey also shows that only one out of every five citizens have enough income to meet their needs on a daily basis. These daily needs include; purchasing food, transport and buying or paying daily utility bills like water.

Nanyanzi says that they want policy makers to address the issues of food security and poverty that the report shows.

“From the entire report, what we would like the policy makers to probably address, is the issue that Ugandans are faced with the challenge of poverty, and also, they are hungry because the food stress [is high]. 85% of Ugandans mentioned that they were worried about running out of food.

When we looked at his figure and compared with our neighbours in Kenya; because a survey was done at the same time, the figure was much lower at 68 per cent. So we see Ugandans are more food insecure and also financially struggling,” said Nanyanzi.

The survey shows that food stress is higher in Uganda than Kenya. The same survey that was carried out in Uganda and was taken to Kenya and the findings show that while 85 per cent of Ugandans are worried about food, in neighbouring Kenya the figure stands at 69 per cent.

Sheila Depio a research associate with the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) says the findings of the survey are in line with other previous findings in regards to poverty and food security.

Dr Mary Nakabugo, Twaweza Uganda executive director, says that the findings show that government needs to step in to offer their support.

“Ordinary Ugandans are working very hard to provide for themselves and their children, but they are struggling to achieve economic security. The government can step in to support their efforts and ensure that no one is left behind as the country forges ahead.”

According to interpretive data from the survey Karamoja, Teso and the central region of the country had the highest numbers of people, who, in the last three months have gone hungry an entire day at least once.

Karamoja was the highest with 85 per cent, followed by central with 75 per cent and Teso with 73 per cent.

Lango, Bunyoro and West Nile regions had the least number of people going hungry with 9, 30 and 30 per cent of the population going a day without a meal respectively.