By Edward Anyoli
Caritas Uganda has called upon the government to strengthen the law on food security.
Speaking to journalists in Kampala on Tuesday, Betty Aguti, a policy advocacy officer at Caritas Uganda, said there is an urgent need to improve food security.
Aguti said the government should restore the hygiene and sanitary inspection system to strengthen the existing law on both human and animal food.
“Unsafe foods are the cause of many diseases and contribute to other poor health conditions, such as impaired growth and development, micronutrient deficiencies, non-communicable or communicable diseases, and mental illness. Globally, one in ten people is affected by foodborne diseases annually,” Aguti said
According to Aguti, although the government of Uganda has over the years been intensifying efforts to improve the standard of food safety, food safety practices across each sector of the food supply chain are yet to meet the recommended global standards.
Aguti said the government should engage legislators to review the food and drugs Act to provide the legal framework for the implementation of the National Policy on Food Safety.
“Develop and implement adequate public awareness and education programs for food safety that covers the entire food supply chain in the country,” Aguti said.
Dr. Giregon Opolot, from the School of Agricultural Sciences Makerere University, who also doubles as a member of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards said toxic fertilizers should be avoided.
Opolot noted that the safety of food begins with the soil, saying that to resolve the issue of food safety, the soil must be protected from contamination by using toxic fertilizers.
“The contamination the food inherits from the soil is like the diseases you are born with you can not treat. The starting point to tackle food safety is the soil once the soil is not healthy you cannot expect to be healthy because we are part of complex life and life processes in the soil,” Opolot said.
Chris Oyua, the Managing Director at Maco Consulting Limited, a non-governmental organization involved in promoting agriculture and food security, said improved food safety will mitigate the increasing non-communicable diseases.
“Improved food safety and sanitation standards will help to reduce the incidence of foodborne diseases. This will lower morbidity and mortality rates, especially among vulnerable groups in the population. Public health maintenance costs will be reduced, and sustainable” Oyua said.