A Ugandan researcher in the field of nutritional sciences and dietetics has made a case for the preservation of indigenous seeds to protect Uganda’s food sovereignty.
Peter Milton Rukundo, who also lectures at Kyambogo University, said preservation of indigenous seeds will not only ensure biodiversity, but will also improve Uganda’s nutritive security.
He explained that most local seeds, such as beans, are known to be more nutritive compared with genetically altered ones.
Local seeds are also more appreciated locally for their taste, he added.
Rukundo was speaking during the World Food Day dialogue at the President’s Office in Kampala on Thursday (October 13).
The meeting was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries as one of the activities to commemorate World Food Day which is slated for October 16.
Farmers need ‘appropriate information’
Food sovereignty is a food system in which the people who produce, distribute, and consume food also control the mechanisms and policies of food production and distribution.
This is against the present corporate food regime, in which corporations and market institutions control the global food system.
Rukundo said despite the changing climate and the disrupted food ways disproportionately impacting indigenous seeds, efforts should be made to preserve and protect local varieties from extinction.
He also argued that most non-indigenous seeds cannot be replanted.
“There is a need to provide appropriate information to our farmers to ensure that they make the right choices,” said the researcher.
According to a recent report by BBC, today’s seed industry is dominated by a handful of companies.
The report said approximately 60% of the market is controlled by just four multinational companies.
This means that many of the seeds planted by farmers are controlled by international property rights or patents that limit how they can be used.
It has given rise to many court cases, with farmers’ groups challenging whether farmers have the right to save and reuse seeds for future harvests, the BBC report