Environment at stake as Uganda loses millions of food

Minister Vincent Bamulangaki with other officials at the Uganda Media Centre. (Courtesy photo)

Food rights experts have condemned the lack of adequate government measures to tame food loss and waste saying this is detrimental not only to food security but also abets climate change.

They say if the government puts in place some measures to reduce food loss and waste like sensitising citizens, it can help because many people do not know that food is wasted.

The Executive Director Food Rights Alliance, Ms Agnes Kirabo, explains that if a farmer in Uganda produces 10 kilogrammes of maize, they will lose 1.2 kilogrammes, which is close to one and a half kilogrammes on the farm.

According to her, in Kampala alone daily, 750 tonnes of garbage is collected which is not any other thing but food. That if this food was spared, it would help many people who are suffering in the neighborhoods.

She further notes that for one single tomato to go to waste, that this tomato consumed three litres of water.

“When a single orange is thrown in the dustbin, bear in mind that it consumed 50 litres of water,” says Ms Kirabo.

She appeals to Ugandans that as they are trying to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, they should ensure that the available food should be put in right use which will help them to improve the immunity to fight the virus.

“Take responsibility and personal actions as an individual. Consume responsibly and don’t serve a full plate of food which will be left to waste yet others are missing,” she appeals.

Speaking at Uganda Media Centre yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon as Uganda joined other countries to commemorate the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste which falls on September 29, Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Minister, Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, said that it is important to note that government has put in place some measures to combat the food loss and waste challenge.

“The government of Uganda has put in place enabling policy frameworks for food loss reduction and these include the constitution of republic of Uganda objective 12 which compels the state to take appropriate steps to grow and store adequate food, Vision 2040 which underscores the need to reduce food loss and wastage and improve food safety among others.”

He also says that food loss and waste is one of the biggest challenges for growth of the agriculture sector because it threatens household incomes, food security and nutrition.

The minister cited that with 2.8m tonnes of maize produced in Uganda annually, it is estimated that 17.6 percent is lost, 214,000 tonnes of millet, 12.4 percent is lost, and 23000 tonnes of rice, 13.5 percent is lost among others.

Mr Antonio Querido, the country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, says it is important that people understand that food loss and waste affects the economy of the country and individuals.

Mr Querido appeals to Ugandans to be plan full and put in good use of all the foods they produce.

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