Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Sustainable Food

Uganda’s food production has been on a steady decline owing to climate change coupled with a growing population. The shifting scale of food production has brought with it extremities such as malnutrition and hunger in sub-regions such as Karamoja, Teso and Lango.

 

Migration is fast emerging as a key topic and a nuanced understanding considers it as a livelihood diversification strategy for individual aspirations thus viewed as part of wider development. On the other hand and imperatively, its occurrence for others is often due to limitation of choices resulting from adverse political, environmental and economic situations, and ultimately, resulting in harmful effects such as increased pressure in the hosting environment.

On the surface at least, modern foods systems appear to be astonishingly diverse. A person walking into a supermarket almost anywhere in the world can be overwhelmed by the profusion of choices. The productivity of our food systems is also impressive: between 1961 and 2001, crop yields more than doubled in all regions of the developing world except Africa

Healthy eating habits and practices have been replaced by unhealthy and consumption of less diverse and less nutritious foods.  The compromised eating trends are incidentally an occurence among both low and high income populations. Among the latter it is attribued to among other reasons climate change which has affected agricultural productivity amidst competing households economic needs. In middle and high income populations in urban settlements, a mix of factors ranging from busy work schedules and time constraints have led to the increase in consumption of fast foods.

A recent report by the National Planning Authority in Uganda has revealed that the country is still among those where levels of hunger remain high (NPA, 2017). According to this report, the daily diet of Ugandans only comprises 1,860 calories instead of 2,200, which indicates the country may not attain Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Two. SDG 2 commits countries to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

Today, most African youth seems uninterested in working in the coffee sector as they see it as an "old man's" hobby. However, the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA) states that it is women who form the majority of the world’s estimated total of 25 million coffee farmers.

Kabarole District situated in South Western Uganda is endowed with a rich climate and fertile soils. The district contributes large amounts of food not only for the Rwenzori region - where Kabarole is situated - but other regions and neighbouring countries such as Rwanda, Tanzania, Congo and Sudan. The irony, however, food and nutrition insecurity, diet related diseases such as stunting and malnutrition are common occurences in the district.

Did you know that the coffee in your cup has travelled a long way? As you smell the aroma and take a sip do you have thoughts of the diminishing food security?

The role of fresh fruits and vegetables in nutrition is well recognized and in recent years, Kenyan consumers have increasingly embraced healthy diet options, therefore consuming more of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain micronutrients, fibres and plant proteins which are important for daily diet, and therefore are integral to a diversified nutritious diet.

Last week, the world celebrated the International Women’s Day. While tremendous gains have been made economically, socially and politically in the last decade for women, a lot more still needs to be done. Take for example the role of women in food production. Over the weekend, The New Vision newspaper, Uganda, highlighted a story noting that women's lack of control, acquisition and ownership of land has incapacitated their ability to increase production in the agricultural sector.

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