Climate Mitigation Food Security Trade Policy at Work

Climate, Food, Trade: Analysis of Institutional Interplay and Information Exchange in Uganda

This study examines the institutional mechanisms in place in Uganda for interaction between the government agencies responsible for climate change, agriculture and trade issues. Focusing on the two districts of Nakaseke and Nakasongola, it sheds light on a number of challenges that have resulted in inadequate coordination in the execution of their mandates. For instance, the study finds that understaffing at the district level has led to assigning multiple roles to individual officers which has affected their performance in mainstreaming environmental issues in other areas. Among other recommendations, the author points to the need for formally establishing institutional linkages for specific cross-cutting aspects, especially towards increasing coordination of district authorities with the central government ministries and agencies.

Over the years, high and unstable food and agricultural commodity prices, concerns about population growth, increasing per capita food demands, and environmental constraints have pushed agriculture and food production into the national and international political, policy and research agendas (Doward A, 2013). Uganda has remained a net food importer despite the fact that agriculture is the backbone of her economy. These food deficits are attributed to a number of factors including poor governance, unfavorable trade policies, climate change, supply side constraints, poor infrastructure, and high food prices, among others.

Ugandaís economy is made up of three major sub sectors, i.e. agriculture, forestry and fisheries, which entirely depend on the weather for their production and productivity. Other sectors include livestock, manufacturing, and services sub sectors. To a larger extent, therefore, Ugandaís economy is highly climate change sensitive.

Generally, the approach taken by the Government of Uganda has been to improve agriculture productivity by increasing efficiency and effectiveness of the agriculture sector. This has been done through the adoption of a number of programmes in the form of environment, trade, as well as gender related issues. Most of these programmes have a common goal of contributing to poverty eradication, food security and environmental conservation and sustainability. The major challenge however, has been lack of adequate institutional coordination amongst the relevant Ministries and stakeholders dealing with the environmental, food security/agriculture, and trade related issues, be it vertically from the Central Government to the Local Government (LG) level or horizontally between the responsible institutions at the District level, which would be required for a holistic approach.

There is a fundamental linkage between trade, agriculture, and climate change as was established in a previous research undertaken by CUTS International in Uganda, which inter-alia found that this required effective coordination of the relevant institutions dealing with the three issues. As a follow-up, this study therefore provides a detailed analysis of the institutional coordination for climate, trade, and agricultural policy at national and district levels.