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Indigenous, Organic Foods For A Long Life

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Rare bush pulses included ebigagga, obuyindiyindi, enkolimbo and ensuga are some of of the rare indinenous foods. Yams or climbing foods include balugu, ebisebe, enddagu and kyetumula. Bitter berries, goose berries, indigenous oranges, poultry and cereals were exhibited at the show.

Dr Grace Nambatya, the director of research at the National Chemotherapeutic Research Institute, says these, crops can be grown organically, without the application of artificial fertilisers and pesticides.

What are indigenous crops?

Joshua Aijuka, the programme officer of PELUM Uganda, says indigenous, sometimes known as traditional foods, are those foods that people have access to locally, without having to purchase them, and within traditional knowledge and the natural environment from farming or wild harvesting.

In the Ugandan context, indigenous foods have been defined broadly to include foods introduced to Uganda earlier than the 1900s and have been naturalised and adapted to local conditions.

“These are more than just foods for they touch a broad spectrum of Indigenous peoples’ lives,” he says.

In different societies of Uganda for instance, foods are part of culture; prepared on special ceremonies such as traditional marriages, child naming, circumcision and burials.  

“You can call these natural foods because they are grown without any artificial intervention,” says Christopher Magala from Slow Food Uganda, who exhibited climbing yams, local passion fruits, local bananas, medicinal herbs and pulses.

How to control pests organically

One of the biggest challenges facing organic farmers is the control of pests. Organic farmers use a collection of leaves, fruits, roots to process elements to control different pests on the farm. Such plants include neem tree extracts, tephrosia, black jack (sere) and pawpaw leaves.

They also use urine and redpepper. These can be made on the spot, or in case of urine, can be processed through three months.

“God created all these crops and gave them the ability to fight off diseases and survive,” Kyolobi Galiwango, from Kongojje, Bakka, Wakiso district, says.

Galiwango grows coffee, bananas, beans and climbing foods the ‘natural’ way. He is supported by Africa Network 2000. The farmers gave several tips that they use to control diseases while growing these indigenous crops.

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