Hivos International

Kabarole District in Uganda moves to boost food production and improve nutrition

One is never too old to hawk fruits in Fort Portal

The second People’s Summit on Food was held on November 30 and December 1, 2017. It was hosted by Uganda’s Fort Portal Municipality, in cooperation with Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC), IIED and Hivos, and brought together politicians, farmers, street vendors, civil society, church leaders, nutritionists and youth. Conversations at the Summit focused on how to change the region’s food system to more affordable and nutritious foods.

Mr Chris Businge, a researcher at KRC, speaking at the People’s Summit on Food said 42 percent of children in Kabarole are stunted and yet the district is a food basket.

“This is an indication that we lack food production sustainability strategies” he said.

A survey conducted in mid-2017 indicated that production and marketing of agricultural produce has been abandoned by the youth and left to the grandparents. It also shows that rural households do not know about good diets, one reason why stunting levels are high among the children.

According to Businge, if the policy makers fail to focus on the future of food systems, Kabarole and the region are likely to experience food scarcity.

As a result, Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) and Kabarole District council have teamed up to amend the ‘Production, Natural Resources and Marketing Ordinance 2006’ with the aim of increasing production of commercial food products.

The amendments follow the high levels of malnutrition, decline in food production and rampant environmental degradation in the Rwenzori sub region and Kabarole in particular.

Malnutrition levels for Rwenzori stand at 56 percent, while that of Kabarole is at 42 percent.

The Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Kabarole Mr Alfred Malinga said, “We want the amended Production and Marketing ordinance to address issues of agriculture financing, rejuvenation of farmers’ cooperatives, marketing and value addition.”

He added, “Production and marketing sector is key in driving our economy to middle income, and if the ordinance is well implemented, it will ensure people’s prosperity and transform their lives every year.”

The district chairman, Mr Richard Rwabuhinga, said that of recent the district experienced declining levels of food production at house hold level. “The implementation of this ordinance will increase production at household level, improve livelihoods and incomes hence driving the people to middle income economy.”

However, he noted that it is the leaders’ task to package the ordinance and carry the message of food security and good diet to ensure physical and mental growth of children.

The People’s Summit on Food is part of Hivos’ Sustainable Diets for All (2016-2020) global advocacy programme implemented by Hivos in partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).  It seeks to influence policy and practices of markets, government actors and international institutions through citizen action for the promotion of sustainable diets.