Rural poverty in Uganda
Uganda has made enormous progress in reducing poverty, slashing the countrywide incidence from 56 per cent of the population in 1992 to 31 per cent in 2005. And, at 12 per cent, the reduction of poverty in urban areas has been even more marked. Notwithstanding these gains, however, poverty remains firmly entrenched in the country’s rural areas, home to more than 85 per cent of Ugandans. About 40 per cent of all rural people – some 10 million men, women and children – still live in abject poverty.
Who are Uganda’s rural poor people?
Uganda’s poorest people include hundreds of thousands of subsistence farmers living in remote, scattered areas throughout the country. Remoteness makes people poor inasmuch as it prevents them from benefiting from the country’s steady economic growth and dynamic modernization. In these remote rural areas, smallholder farmers do not have access to the vehicles and roads they need to transport their produce to markets, and market linkages are weak or non-existent. Farmers lack inputs and technology to help them increase their production and reduce pests and disease. And they lack access to financial services that would enable them to boost their incomes both by improving and expanding their production and by establishing small enterprises.
Where are Uganda’s rural poor people?
The poorest regions are the north and north-east of the country, where outbreaks of civil strife have disrupted small farmers’ lives and agricultural production. These are fragile, dry and sub-humid regions where the extreme variability of rainfall and soil fertility means that farming presents a challenge. Production falls short of minimum household needs, rendering the inhabitants particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Nationwide, about 5 per cent of all rural households continue to be affected by food insecurity.
Why are Uganda’s rural people poor?
Health and social issues make a significant contribution to rural poverty in Uganda. The population of about 30 million is growing at a rate of 3.2 per cent/annum, doubling every 20 years. Although the country has been able to dramatically reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS among the population, the pandemic has caused the death of large numbers of young adults and orphaned approximately 1 million children. The lack of health care and other social services puts rural women at a particular disadvantage. They work far longer hours than men, have limited access to resources and control over what they produce, and, among their many other tasks, they bear the double burden of ensuring their households are fed adequately and caring for the sick and elderly and for orphaned children.