Adaptation to climate change in Uganda

Adaptation to climate change in Uganda

At a glance

Completed programmes
Min. of Water and Environment, Min. of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
Countries involved
Total budget
11,00 M€
GCCA priority area(s)
Effects of climate change on the region

Several studies have confirmed that Uganda is vulnerable to climate change and variability. Climate change is expected to result in more extreme and frequent periods of intense rainfall, erratic onset and cessation of the rainy season, as well as more frequent episodes of drought. These changes are likely to have significant implications for agriculture, food security, and soil and water resources.

GCCA's action programme
Geographical scope
Country groups
Initial GCCA/GCCA+ contribution
11,000,000.00 €
Specific objectives

Strengthen the resilience of rural populations and agricultural production systems in the central part of the cattle corridor (more specifically, the districts of Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Luweero, Kiboga, Mubende and Sembabule, which are particularly vulnerable to drought and climate variability).

Build the capacities of communities, commercial farmers and the Government of Uganda to cope with climate change.

Key achievements
  • The contribution Agreement between the EU Delegation and the FAO was concluded in July 2012, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the FAO and the Government of Uganda in August 2012.

  • The GCCA project established district-level focal points, and two GCCA field offices are operational in Mubende and Nakasongola districts. A monitoring and evaluation framework was developed to track project outputs and outcomes using both quantitative and qualitative indicators. A project communication and visibility plan were also developed.

  • A technical advisor has been recruited to support knowledge and capacity building in the CCD. A planning process was established leading to the finalization of a 5-year costed Strategic Plan (2013-2018) setting out CCD’s vision, mission, goals, and objectives, fully aligned with the strategy of the Ministry of Water and Environment and the National Climate Change Policy. A knowledge management survey completed in 20 districts. Based on the capacity gap analysis, the Climate Change Department (CCD) developed an agenda for an awareness campaign at the district level that addresses the capacity gaps identified. Training material has been developed, awareness material collected and developed. 

  • A detailed work plan has been developed to support improved access to livestock and crops to water – including the selection of beneficiary communities.

  • A baseline survey of targeted districts in the cattle corridor was conducted between December 2012 and January 2013; this will allow comparing the “pre-project” and “post-project” situation against a range of indicators focused on livelihood-supporting assets; food access and availability; resilience, adaptive capacity and coping strategies; climate change-related knowledge and practices; access to water for production; and the regenerative capacity of natural resources.

  • NGO Partners have been identified for promoting community-based adaptation using farmer field schools, for promoting bio-energy plantation and improved charcoal production technologies, and also for promoting climate change adaptation practices for coffee production. As a result, about 42 Farmer Field Schools (FFS) facilitators have been trained, and formation of 168 FFS groups benefitting about 3,214 households initiated along with associated capacity building, field assessment, and community action planning. About 70% of FFS have developed adaptation plans to guide field demonstrations and field testing of adaptation practices. 

  • Significant progress has been also made by all the farmer field schools (FFS) across the target 6 districts on promoting village savings and loans initiatives as an adaptation strategy. This activity reached about 131 FFS participating in Village Savings and Loans Associations, representing a collective savings of at least EUR 60,000. On the average, about 43% of the saving is invested by farmers towards improving their economic adaptive capacity to climate risks.

  • Outcome assessments conducted by FAO in December 2014 indicate that individual farmers are now bringing the new improved knowledge on climate change to their own farms. About 10% of farmers are now applying improved crop production practices on their farm, while about 6% of farmers are now using improved livestock production practices. 

  • Technicians from the district and national agencies, NGOs and policymakers, have also benefitted from capacity building activities. The thematic areas for training and awareness raising activities included: adaptation to climate change; climate change mitigation, climate change mainstreaming, concepts of climate change, policy and legislation, and weather and climate. In addition, a team of technical experts developed a framework and climate change materials inventory, to be used as the base for a Resource Centre and the digital climate change library established in cooperation with Makerere University.

  • Cost benefit analysis of adaptation and vulnerability assessments completed in 10 Districts covering 5 most vulnerable agro-ecological zones in Uganda. The general objective of the study is to systematically identify options based on specific adaptation technologies and practices for five critical Agro-ecological zones (AEZs) in Uganda, focusing in particular on the agriculture, water and environment sectors. The vulnerability assessment and climate change adaptation facts were developed. The vulnerability assessment reports showed that all production systems in all the five agro-ecological zones studied were vulnerable to climate change. Further, predictions of future climate showed that under the two Representative CO2 pathways, rainfall will reduce by 2030 and 2080, while temperature will increase during the same period in all agro-ecological zones.

  • Twenty-one (21) climate change adaptation options were identified in the three sectors (agriculture, water, and environment).  The adaptation fact sheets developed are for; cover crops, minimum tillage, organic fertilizer, mulching, agroforestry for Arabica coffee production, improved maize variety, improved rice varieties, improved cassava variety, improved beans varieties, intercropping coffee-banana, zero grazing livestock production, fodder banks, diversification activities, water harvesting, powered water pump, low cost drip irrigation systems, valley dams, rock embankment, borehole protection, integrated wetland management, fuel saving stoves.

Main activities per result

Knowledge and capacities for climate change adaptation are strengthened.

Activities include strengthening the institutional capacity of the Climate Change Department (CCD) of the Ministry of Water and Environment; increasing climate change awareness, knowledge and capacities in selected departments and the target districts; and producing and disseminating adaptation good practices and their integration in relevant policies and plans.

Livestock has better access to water through ‘water for production’ investments.

Planned activities aim to mitigate the impact of water scarcity on livestock production systems, with a focus both on infrastructure development and on design improvements. They include the operation and maintenance of existing and new ‘water for production’ infrastructure, the construction and rehabilitation of valley tanks, mainly for livestock, and the rehabilitation of existing multipurpose valley dams. In addition, small-scale irrigation as part of the multifunctional use of water reservoirs will be piloted. Support will be provided to water user associations and committees to establish effective operation and maintenance systems. A programme of applied multidisciplinary research aimed at strengthening the knowledge base on livestock, pasture, water and population dynamics in the cattle corridor will also be implemented, in the context of climate change, to inform decision making and achieve a more sustainable balance between pasture, livestock and water resources.

Agricultural production systems in the cattle corridor are more climate-resilient.

The resilience of livestock and coffee production systems in the districts of the central cattle corridor will be strengthened using the ‘farmer field school’ approach to develop and disseminate climate change adaptation packages. The network of smallholder coffee producers developed with previous EU funding will be used as a platform for implementation of the coffee sub-component. The development of commercial-scale tree plantations will be promoted for the production of fuelwood and charcoal, using the methodology developed by the EU-funded Sawlog Production Grant Scheme.

Challenges and lessons learned (selected)
  • Consultation and engagement with foreseen partners including local governments, ministries and other development partners during the identification and formulation phase of the project proved useful. It notably allowed for a review of opportunities to use existing structures and implementation modalities to implement this new project, as well as an assessment of elements of complementarities and alignment with existing and planned projects and programmes.

  • The involvement of the National Authorising Officer from the very initial stages further supported coordination. 

Way forward (selected)
  • Makerere University, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, the Ministry of Water and Environment and the National Agricultural Research Organisation are working towards national climate change modelling and research studies on cost-benefit analysis of adaptation on agriculture, water and environment. 

  • The implementation and capacity building for promoting bio-energy and improved charcoal production technologies will be continued. The following research studies will be carried on: (1) Assessing the local fuel wood demand and the feasibility of supplying fuel wood from dedicated bio-energy plantations; (2) Assessing the feasibility of commercial charcoal production systems in Uganda and (3): Reviewing existing improved kiln technologies and other alternative and efficient charcoal production systems. 

  • Further planned activities include: (i)  Establish 20 ha of demonstration plantations during the March-May 2015 planting season; (ii) Disseminate findings of the research studies to relevant project stakeholders; (iii) Establish 400 ha of commercial bioenergy plantations during the March-May 2015 planting season; iv Conduct study tour (exposure visit) to areas with improved charcoal production kilns; (v) Document and disseminate best practices in bioenergy plantation establishment and charcoal production technologies.

  • The on-the-ground implementation of activities for promoting climate change adaptation for coffee: will also continue through the following activities: (1) Conduct training for Lead Farmers and Farmer Group Facilitators in topics related to climate change; (2) Development of training materials and training curriculum for the Farmer Group Learning Centers; (3) Continue with strengthening farmer groups to better coordinate activities; (4) Develop a field tested rainwater harvesting tank which can provide water for supplemental irrigation in times of drought. The designed water storage structure will combine durability at low cost with a high storage capacity; and (5) Complete research on the use of shade trees and agroforestry.

  • The construction of the CCD Resource Centre and separately construction of the valley tanks and dams are works in progress.