WFP Plans Regional Logistics Hub in Uganda: Insights from Country Director

The World Food Programme (WFP) is strategizing to establish a logistics hub in Uganda to serve the region’s needs.

“We’re looking to create a central logistics hub here in Uganda to cater to neighboring countries,” stated Abdirahman Meygag, the Country Director of the World Food Programme.

Meygag disclosed this during a meeting with Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala.

Presently, Uganda hosts over 1.6 million refugees, mainly reliant on WFP assistance through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Given Uganda’s status as a food basket for the region, there are concerns about WFP importing food from other countries to support Ugandans facing food insecurity in Karamoja and refugees, rather than sourcing directly from local farmers.

This meeting follows Prime Minister Nabbanja’s engagements with partners in Geneva under the President’s directive, where she urged WFP to prioritize local food purchases.

During last year’s Italy-Africa summit in Italy, Prime Minister Nabbanja met with Amy E. Pope, Director General of the United Nations International Organization for Migration (IOM), to discuss refugee management. Nabbanja urged the Director to assist Uganda by procuring all refugee-supplied food locally.

In response, Meygag informed the Prime Minister that WFP has revised its policies and now emphasizes local procurement, except for items unavailable within the country.

“We procure at least 80% of our food supplies locally, including those destined for Sudan,” Meygag affirmed.

Nabbanja briefed the Country Director on Uganda’s transformation from a significant refugee-producing nation before 1986 to Africa’s leading refugee host, accommodating over 1.6 million individuals.

Nabbanja stressed the need for sustainable refugee support, advocating for structures to empower refugees to produce their own food and reduce pressure on land.

The Prime Minister expressed concern over diminishing WFP support amidst increasing refugee numbers.

Meygag mentioned that WFP spent approximately USD 350 million last year on local food purchases, including around USD 2 million in Karamoja.

“We’re also supporting the ‘Karamoja Feed Karamoja’ initiative by purchasing maize from smallholder farmers in the region,” Meygag added.