Redressing the balance: new work on climate change and its impact on livelihood staples in Uganda

24th July 2020

Since the early 1970s, enormous efforts have been made to improve the yields and resilience of the world’s major cereal crops: maize, wheat and rice. Although these crops are the mainstay of global food security, in many parts of the developing world the population relies on other crops such as sweet potatoes, and far less research emphasis has been placed on these staples. This problem was highlighted in our recent work on the impact of floods on household livelihoods in Katakwi district, Uganda, where sweet potatoes are an important  food crop, and prompted Evidence for Development to undertake further research in collaboration with at the Walker Institute, University of Reading.

EfD is now working with crop modellers to identify the sensitivities of locally grown crops to flooding at different stages in the growing cycle in Uganda. This work is part is being carried out as part of the NIMFRU flood impact project and uses HEA and IHM data collected from two livelihood zones within the study district, Katawki.

Our main focus in this project is to improve the capability of existing early warning systems to predict the impact of flood events on local livelihoods, by linking flood forecasts to livelihoods data held on the IDAPS platform.

Working with Hydrologists from the University of Reading, we are also investigating how to link information from the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS) to the IDAPS database. This will further increase the functionality of IDAPS by helping to predict the impact of flooding on household livelihoods. Next steps will depend on future funding,  but there is scope to monitor the actual livelihood impacts within inundation zones covered by the GloFAS system, and thus provide a more accurate predictive model of the impact of flood events on both crop production and livestock assets,  supporting better targeted flood mitigation responses.


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