By Patrick Okino
Divine Organic Foods an agribusiness company based in Northern Uganda has developed and processed two nutrient-rich food products out of orange flesh sweet potato and iron rich beans.
The nutrient dense products, Amaro Instant omposite porriage flour and Amaro Instant wholemeal is to address challenges of malnutrition and lack of vitamin A among women of reproductive age and children.
The managing director, Noela ojara said they were identified by Bioversity International in the food processing nodes to develop the highly nutritious food to also tackle lack of iron deficiencies in the body.
Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU), a programme funded by the European Union and supervised by the office of the prime minister is funding the implementation of the project.
It has a consortium of six entities headed by International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
According to the World Bank, in the 13 refugee settlements and 12 hosting districts analyzed in Uganda, around 104,440 children were and will likely be acutely malnourished between February 2022 and January 2023 including 16,540 children malnourished and in need of treatment.
Low agricultural productivity, climate change, landlessness, natural disasters, lack of education and high food prices are the major factors behind the problem.
But Ojara said the nutrients most needed are in the instant foods they developed, processed and are now available in the community.
She urged the community to try as much as possible to have nutritious food in their daily diets because the nutrients dense in the family meals mean the health of that family is secured.
“Development from the community starts with the household and my message is to the general community that let us try to plant climate resilience crops given the fact that climate change gives a negative impact to our food system,” she said.
She added that they have also processed and developed many cassava products including free cassava flour and cassava snacks.
The district nutrition focal point person for Kwania, Samuel Bunga said cases of malnutrition among children in the district is still a big challenge because of poor feeding and lack of food in the households.
He urged people to start growing orange flesh sweet potatoes and NARO Beans which are crops researched and released by National Agricultural Research Organisation as climate resilient and nutritious crops.