World Food Day: Uganda’s Stand on Food Security

This year, Uganda will join the rest of the world in celebrating World food Day under the theme of “Change the future of Migration; Invest in Food Security and Rural Development” in Kachwekano Zonal Agricultural and Development Institute in Kabale district. This event is being organized by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Uganda has a population of more than 39 million people. About 80% the country’s population depends on Agriculture for survival. Even when Uganda has always been known as a food basket in the East African community, there have always been issues of poverty and food insecurities arising in the country. Early this year, there was an acute food insecurity situation in Uganda from January to March affecting about 10.9 million citizens. Most affected were the regions of Northern and Eastern Uganda. It is believed that the situation arose from the el Nina season that took place in 2016 which caused the dry seasons to prolong leading to overall low production of crops in the country. During this time, levels of malnutrition in both children and mothers increased as well.

Currently, Uganda has been ranked as one of top refugee host countries with high refugee influx of about 1.3 million refugees from neighboring countries of South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Due to the fact that Uganda is just a developing country with lack of  enough resources to sustain the ever growing population, some organizations have come up to aid the Government in fighting the current situation of hunger, poverty and malnutrition in the areas where the refugees have settled. Had these places been developed, then the refugees would not have had to succumb to food insecurity and its negative impacts like Malnutrition.

Over the years, the Government of Uganda has implemented programs to not only help eradicate poverty and improve food security but also lead to development of its rural areas within the country. National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADs) program was formed in 2001 to provide public agricultural advisory/extension services to all so as to provide access to agricultural information, knowledge and improved technology among rural poor farmers in the country. Operation wealth creation (OWC) formed by government to help in the facilitation of sustainable commercial agricultural production. These two work hand in hand to provide improved seedlings and livestock to the rural people of Uganda. This can boost household income among individuals and promote development. In short, Uganda looks at the improvement of Agriculture as major way of bringing about rural development and obtaining food security in the country.

The government of Uganda, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health, drafted a food security and nutrition policy in 2003 to address food and nutrition issues arising in the country as per the constitutional commitment to provide food and nutrition security for all Ugandans. Above all, the Government of Uganda came up with a School Feeding Policy to ensure that schools in conjunction with parents provide lunch meals to all children in the respective schools. However, this policy isn’t being implemented in most schools as most parents are incapable of providing an input to the feeding program financially. As a result, the different districts usually like to call upon different Organizations to support school feeding programs.