African Development Bank earmarks $9m to curb floods, drought in Elgon Sub Region

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The African Development Bank (ADB) has pledged continued support towards agricultural development for economic diversification and resilience in Uganda.

Ngafuan was in Mbale to flag off the Strengthening the Adaptive Capacity and Resilience of Communities in Uganda’s watersheds project (SACRiAC) and to engage local project stakeholders on Bank rules, policies and procedures that are relevant for the successful implementation of the project for Awoja catchment.

The $ 9 million Global Environment Facility grant-funded project seeks to increase household farm income through the mitigation of drought and floods in the four districts of Bukedea, Bulambuli, Sironko, and Kapchorwa in the Awoja catchment region. The area has since 2001 suffered extended dry spells or floods which continue to pose a threat to community livelihood.

“The project will directly support 791,200 inhabitants of which 50% are females. With an average household size of approximately 5.0, 158,200 households will benefit from the interventions.” Ngafuan said.

The project interventions include afforestation, riverbank restoration, construction of valley tanks and water harvest tanks for communal use, promotion of agroforestry, climate-smart agriculture, and climate-resilient livelihood options. Other components include institutional and community capacity development improved climate information and early warning systems.

Additionally, the ADB Uganda Country Manager Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has unveiled another $180m investment towards the promotion of local food production and mitigation of climate change shocks in the year 2023/2024 in addition to the ongoing agriculture portfolio of $258 million in line with the Bank’s Feed Africa strategy. Upcoming projects include (i) Markets and Agricultural Trade Improvement III (MATIIP III) (USD 56 million); (ii) The Lakes Edward & Albert Integrated Basin Management & Investment Project 3, (USD 70 million); and (iii) Medium and Large-Scale Irrigation Schemes covering Central and South-western Uganda, (USD 56 million).

The interventions are in line with ADB’s Feed Africa Strategy which aims to transform African agriculture into a competitive and inclusive agribusiness sector that creates wealth, improves lives and secures the environment while contributing to the elimination of hunger and poverty, improving nutrition and increased prosperity.

Water and environment Ministry Permanent secretary Alfred Okidi Okot emphasized the urgency for the adoption of corrective measures in order to fully benefit from, and sustain the catchment area, soil and water resources which are at the lowest, adding that the government’s efforts have been curtailed by limited funding.

Uganda’s economy and local communities are vulnerable to climate change and variability as a result of several compounding factors: i) heavy reliance on natural resources, particularly within the agricultural sector; ii) dependence on rain-fed agriculture; iii) close linkages between agriculture performance and climatic changes – with the gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation rates closely corresponding to seasonal rainfall patterns; iv) high population growth rates that in combination with high poverty levels reduce capacity to cope with climate hazards; v) low per capita income vi) limited financial capacity to fund adaptation measures; vii) weak and inadequate infrastructure; viii) inadequate supply of clean water and sanitation facilities; and ix) inadequate availability of health and medical services.

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