In a recent development, the United Nations has disclosed that an alarming 783 million individuals across the globe are grappling with hunger.
A legislative initiative is currently taking shape in Uganda, under the direction of the Parliamentary Alliance on Food and Nutrition Security (UPA-FNS). The legislation, which is still in the advanced stages of drafting, aims to compel every household in Uganda to establish food stores or granaries. This directive emerges in response to what some perceive as inadequate governmental efforts to address the nation’s food security concerns.
Milton Muwuma, the chairperson of UPA-FNS and Member of Parliament representing Kigulu South, shed light on the purpose behind the proposed law during an interview at Parliament. According to him, the primary objective of this legislation is to enhance food security. Muwuma explained that extensive consultations have been conducted with various stakeholders, with one critical round of consultations yet to occur with cultural leaders. In the past, granaries were commonplace and were typically managed by these cultural leaders. However, their role in this regard has diminished over time. The forthcoming consultations will be crucial, as the legislation is intended to make it mandatory for every household, including those in urban centers, to maintain a food ration sufficient to feed their families.
Furthermore, Muwuma emphasized that this Bill has been necessitated due to the perceived inadequacy of government efforts in implementing policies to tackle the country’s food security challenges.
Linda Auma, the vice chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and the Member of Parliament for Lira Woman, expressed the expectation of full government support once the Bill is tabled. She pointed out that the Bill has input from various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA).
Flavia Kabahenda, the legislator representing Kyegegwa, argued that food security should encompass the necessity of ensuring a healthy population. She stressed that it is easier to raise strong children than to mend broken adults, emphasizing the social protection aspect of the proposed legislation. She further called upon the Ministry of Finance to establish a mandatory financial system to ensure that the people of Uganda are well-fed.
In response to the planned legislation, Gerald Kato, the Consortium Coordinator at Right2Grow, demanded that the government establish effective measures to combat food loss in the country. He recommended the development and enforcement of policies and regulations to reduce food loss and waste across the entire supply chain, from production to consumption. Kato also suggested investment in irrigation infrastructure, drought-resistant crop varieties, and comprehensive water resource management facilities to address the impact of climate change on water availability and ensure efficient access to clean water.
A report released by the United Nations on July 12 highlighted the global disparity in food security, with a heavier impact on women compared to men in every region. Additionally, a May 2022 Human Rights and Freedoms report revealed elevated levels of hunger-related deaths in the Karamoja subregion in Northeastern Uganda, with 1,676 fatalities in Kotido District, 225 in Kaabong District, and 116 in Moroto District. These figures underscore the urgency of addressing food security in Uganda.