18 Jul 2013

Uganda is a development success story by regional standards, with increasing economic growth and declining poverty. Nevertheless, the country’s economic dependence on agriculture makes it very sensitive to climate variability and change. Uganda is experiencing more frequent and intense droughts than it has historically. Temperatures have risen 0.37° C per decade since 1960. While no clear long-term rainfall trend is visible, heavy rainfalls, floods and landslides are on the rise. Climate forecasts predict that temperatures will continue to increase, extreme weather events will become more frequent and intense, and rainfall patterns will change, although it is not clear how. In a context of growing uncertainty resulting from climate and non-climate factors, balancing the needs of a growing population with environmental concerns will be difficult. This study was conducted to assess climate risks in crop production in two different agroecological zones of Uganda and to identify climate risk management options.


We conducted a climate risk assessment on maize, beans and coffee productivity in the Rakai District (southwestern region, west of Lake Victoria, in a savannah woodland and grassland ecosystem) and in the Kapchorwa District (eastern region, on the slopes of Mount Elgon, in a mountainous forested ecosystem). Both districts are characterized by a mixed rain-fed crop-livestock system dominated by small- and medium-scale farmers. Floods and droughts are the main climate hazards. Coffee is the main cash crop, while maize and beans are the main food crops. Data collection and analysis involved local consultations with 174 farmers in three parishes in Rakai (94 farmers) and Kapchorwa (80 farmers); crop modelling for maize and beans use the Decision Support System for Agrotechnology Transfer (DSSAT); literature reviews; 31 interviews with coffee actors at local, district and national levels; and district and national
stakeholder consultations.

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