Climate Risk and Food Security among Indigenous Communities of Kanungu District, South western Uganda
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Majority of Uganda’s population depends on rain-fed agriculture for sustenance. Despite this, approximately 30% of Uganda’s population is still food insecure. Unfortunately, the indigenous Batwa communities are not an exception. The Batwa were evicted from their ancestral homelands to gazette Bwindi impenetrable as a World Heritage Site in 1991. They were forced to adapt to agricultural livelihoods despite their inadequate skills, poverty and limited land which has left them at a competitive disadvantage in terms of access to livelihood basics and ultimately their capacity to adapt. The Batwa have been identified to be sternly food insecure and vulnerable to climate variations and associated risks. Understanding weather changes particularly, at a local scale very critical to manage climate-related risks to humans, ecosystems, and infrastructure and develop resilience through adaptation strategies. This study examines how climate risk and non climatic factors influence food security through food production among an impoverished, marginalized, and self-identifying indigenous group. Coefficient of Variation (CV), Precipitation Concentration Index (PCI) to test the variability of rainfall and temperature and the risk model to calculate the climate risk index. Multi linear regression analysis was done to determine the most predictor variables. Seasonal rainfall variation was more pronounced than annual variation with the March-April-May rainfall season being more variable (24.2%) than the September-October November season (19.6%). The changes in minimum, mean and maximum temperature showed no significant changes (p= 0.94, p=0.73 at α=0.05). The climate risk index was 11.4% and a susceptibility index 30.8%. Land, labor and rainfall were the key driving factors of food production. The prevalence of food insecurity was significant in communities that had limited land and those that did not carry out cultivation. Food production is a key determinant of food security among Batwa communities. While this is true, there could be other factors that influence food security among the Batwa. Therefore, further research examining climate variability for a longer period coupled with other socio-economic factors could help identify priority areas for adaptation and be addressed more holistically to ensure sustainable food production among the indigenous Batwa communities and others facing similar challenges in Uganda and elsewhere.