The East African Community Affairs Minister Rebecca Alitwaala Kadaga has rooted for the revival of granaries as a way of promoting food security in the region.
“With the Parish Development Model, we expect to realize bumper harvests because we expect our producers to be focused,
We must really prepare for the output and storage of the produce, not like Vanira and moringa where the farmers were left to suffer on their own with big crop harvests, “she said
We must plan for them well by ensuring that the storage facilities are in place right from the villages to the national level because the farmers have listened to the messages and every parish is going to identify its niche and produce heavily, “she added.
Kadaga who is also the first Deputy Prime Minister was officiating during a breakfast meeting at Protea Hotel ahead of the food security symposium for Eastern Africa. The symposium organized by climate action for East Africa is expected to take place in October at the University of East Africa.
During the meeting, Kadaga instructed the minister for agriculture animal husbandry and fisheries to ensure that the issue of storage is addressed urgently by reviving the granaries as they continue to encourage people to produce.
She decried the continued sale of food cheaply to Kenyas right from the garden instead of storing it for future use.
Kadaga pledged continued support towards the proposed meeting in October saying the EAC community will fully participate.
“I will introduce the issue to the secretary general and see how the process will be facilitated through our sector committee such that it can become truly a regional sector arrangement, “she said.
Regarding the ongoing food insecurity in South Sudan, Kadaga said that Uganda is considering blocking the food heading to South Sudan due to the new charges of $60 per truck.
“Every heavy truck entering through Nimule has been instructed to pay $60 each time they cross. Obviously, no transporter will allow to pay that, so the food going through that side will probably have to be blocked,” she said.
She said that during the summit two weeks ago, they agreed that all those handles should be stopped to enhance smooth transportation of food to other areas however she said the South Sudanese came up with a new charge which she said contradicts every decision made, thus making working together as the region very difficult.
She observed the need to work together to ensure the protection of the ecosystems and ensure synchronizing the international regional tree planting campaigns, especially during the rainy season
The state minister for Agriculture in charge of Animal Husbandry, Bright Rwamirama in his submission said that with the increasing population in Uganda of 44million people against only 30% of the arable land being used, this requires government intervention in ensuring full utilization of the arable land.
“It is no longer a choice to irrigate or use fertilizer but we must increase production therefore, the issue of food security and working together in the food value chain is the only way to go.
Regarding post-harvest handling, Rwamirama said that Uganda has been losing over 40% through post-harvest handling saying they have come up with a clear plan of action to ensure that food is protected
“We are working with the ministry of trade to make sure that we don’t leave any food getting spoiled. Food security is our top priority because during covid-19 if we did not have food, we would have suffered a lot, “he said.
According to Ronald Lwabayi the team leader climate action for East Africa, as a country, as a region, and as a globe, is going through a very rough time where the impact of war just added salt to the injury.
“This requires us to work together to overcome the situation, the coming food security symposium will give a chance to different actors to learn the new technologies that are relevant to the current situation, “he said.
He said that climate change being a new phenomenon was ignored giving it room to manifest requiring joint action in addressing it.