Kampala, Uganda | THE BLACK EXAMINER | Members of Parliament, part of the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on food and nutrition security, are urging the government to establish a policy that mandates all schools in the country to ensure food availability for students.
During a joint press conference held at Parliament with civil society organizations under “Right to Grow” ahead of World Food Day on October 16, the MPs, led by Chairperson Milton Muwuma, expressed concern about the lack of gardens in schools, which has contributed to hunger among school-going children.
The MPs are also advocating for compulsory food storage facilities in all households, where people can store food for future use. Muwuma explained that due to the absence of granaries in many households, people end up selling most of their food surplus when it’s abundant.
As part of their efforts, the alliance is working on a private members bill on food and nutrition to require all households, both rural and urban, to have food storage facilities. They are currently seeking views from cultural institutions before requesting leave from Parliament to introduce the bill.
Flavia Kabahenda, the Publicity Secretary of the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition Security and the Woman MP for Kyegegwa district, emphasized that the Office of the Prime Minister has been stuck with the food and nutrition policy for 13 years. She called on the government to expedite this policy to enable the enactment of the nutrition bill.
Kabahenda also called for a review of the Food and Drug Act of 1952 to ensure the quality of food, as many foods are insecure due to the addition of drugs and chemicals.
Lira Woman MP Linda Auma, the Vice Chairperson of the Alliance, encouraged a change in attitude towards farming, emphasizing that many people view farming as a last resort. She called for a shift in mindset, emphasizing that agriculture is a vital part of people’s livelihoods.
Speaking on behalf of civil society organizations, Gerald Kato, the coordinator of Right to Grow, highlighted that this year’s World Food Day coincides with a troubling situation where 23 percent of children under five years in Uganda are stunted, and 300,000 children are obese, limiting their potential.
The civil society organizations are calling on the government to support farmers in adopting sustainable agricultural practices like organic farming, crop rotation, and agroforestry. They also recommend investment in irrigation infrastructure and drought-resistant crop varieties to mitigate climate change’s impact. Additionally, they advocate for comprehensive water resource management strategies to ensure equitable access to clean and reliable water sources for agricultural purposes.
World Food Day 2023, themed “Water is Life, Water is Food,” will be commemorated on October 16, with the main celebrations in Uganda taking place in Mukono district.
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