Hivos East Africa

East Africa

Sustainable Food

The current dominant agricultural model has run out of steam. It’s high time to replace it with one that is not only sustainable, but also efficient, inclusive and respectful of the planet and the people who produce and consume food.

The Kenyan food system is broken. It’s a venal and extremely predatory system that is both ‘child and aide’ of the society that produced it, including our system of governance.

The world is on March 8 celebrating women activists spread across different realms, the scholars, policy makers, scientists and artists, you name it. For instance Dr. Vandana Shiva, leading movements to change both practice and paradigms to reclaim seed sovereignty and food security and Ms. Hilal Elver Special Rapporteur on Right to Food whose top agenda comprises of women’s rights.

The provision of food has long been a reserve for women, in Africa, and this has trascended generations. It is considered one of the major gender roles for women. The failure to provide food for the family by a woman in a home is enough to instigate violence.It is so much of an expectation for a woman that whether the source of the food is known or unknown, a woman has to ensure that the family is fed.

(Photo by Tamara Kaunda for our partner IIED.)

In an era of shrinking civic space across the globe, avenues for citizens to participate in key decision making are few.  Slow Food Uganda, one of the implementing partners of Hivos under the Sustainable Diets for All programme is using a legislative model as an avenue through which citizens can voice pertinent issues around the food system in Buikwe District, Uganda.

We invest in a world where entrepreneurial local people are developing new solutions for some of the most challenging problems of our time. There are many other options for sustainably increasing food production and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers that we should look at first before considering investing in GM technology.

While acknowledging the lack of international consensus on the risks and benefits of using genetic modification (GM) technology, Hivos has strong reasons to be very cautious about the use and promotion of genetically modified crops.

Media reports in Uganda two weeks ago revealed that butchers are using formalin to extend the shelf-life of meat. Formalin — a substance meant to preserve dead bodies has become popular in butcheries as it also keeps flies away raising the question of food safety in Uganda. As a result, a few people were implicated and sentenced to eight months in prison after confirmatory tests.  However, the bigger concern on food safety should be eminently adressed. The disconnect in existing laws and the reality of unsafe food consumed is evident.

 The Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Bill puts the future of Uganda under threat: Slow Food offers a different way forward.

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.