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Building resilience to climate variability in Uganda’s “cattle corridor”

April 27, 2016

Extensive areas of sub-Saharan, particularly East Africa, are vulnerable to the long-term consequences of climate change and the short-term increase in climate variability. With IDRC support, researchers from the Africa Innovations Institute set out to find ways to enhance the resilience of poor rural communities to climate variability by addressing linkages between climate variability, food security, and human health in agriculture-based livelihood systems within Uganda’s "cattle corridor." 

The research team examined trends in climate variability and their direct and indirect impact on livelihood systems. This, in turn, informed the design and testing of pilot interventions in various community settings.

Impact on food security

According to communities, the timing of crop and livestock faming activities has changed as a result of climate variability. The felling of trees, bush burning, continuous cultivation, and overgrazing has led to more frequent droughts, epidemics, floods, increased pests, and human and animal diseases. Climate variability, they say, has resulted in food shortages and crop failures, shortages of pasture and water, and reduced incomes.

The project introduced measures to help communities deal with the impacts of climate change. For example, shifting from animal husbandry to crop farming, with a focus on bananas, to reduce the communities’ expenditures on food and add variety to their diet. Indigenous plants were found to be a good source of protein, lipids, crude fibre, and minerals. 

Short training courses were offered in agribusiness, smart agricultural technologies. Access to markets was improved. The communities were also informed about their rights to use community livelihood resources and how to demand these rights.

Watch an audio slideshow about this project