Food and trade experts have urged government to look into boosting food production by extending quality seeds to farmers and investing heavily in the agriculture value chain.
They said this will address the looming food crisis which has seen hundreds starve in the Karamoja sub-region.
Speaking on the sidelines of a media briefing in Kampala, Jane Nalunga, the executive director of SEATINI Uganda stressed that government needs prioritise agriculture to curb the hunger problem.
“This problem is bigger than just hunger, the country is currently in debt and clearly all the available resources are being spent on repayment. This leaves millions of Ugandans at the mercy of smallholder farmers who use rudimentary means of farming. We need to support farmers to boost production by offering fertilizers and competitive markets. Value addition is equally important.” Nalunga suggested.
Although Uganda is described as a food basket, one wonders why its citizens struggle to purchase foods in the markets – which are either overpriced or of poor quality.
Food experts attribute this to poor policies by the government which have left families farming for survival with no support for increasing production.
While the demand for food and food products increases due to population growth, industrialization and trade, the productivity of our agri-food system remains so low.
“As a country, we need clear strategies to grow agriculture. Currently, extension workers cannot reach all farmers across the country, this is coupled with the poor seed distribution system that has allowed poor quality seeds on the market and this only deprives farmers of their little money, said Tony Ojok, Resilient Livelihood Advisor at World Vision.
Henry Kimera, the chairperson of the Food Rights Alliance noted that consumers were now in the hands of unscrupulous traders who are selling poor-quality food stuff just to meet the huge demand.
“When something is wrong in a family, the father as the head steps up and saves the day, this is similar to Uganda now, why should people die of hunger while others eat poor quality food? We need the president to take the lead not delegate the prime minister because this is a crisis that requires presidential intervention.