The impact of hunger on human condition in Uganda


are witnessing a state of emergency which calls for urgent corrective action by
Ugandan authorities under the direct leadership of H.E. Mr. Yoweri Kaguta
Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda. Reports from
various credible sources show that over 10 million Ugandans (over 33 percent)
are mentally sick, 40 percent of children under the age of five are
undernourished, 12 percent of infants are born with low birth weight because
their mothers are undernourished and up to 80 percent of children drop out of primary
school largely because they are hungry.  Infants
who are born underweight suffer permanent disabilities and face the prospect of
early death. Furthermore, children who do not eat enough of balanced diets
(carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and fats) become mentally and
physically underdeveloped.

studies have demonstrated that people who eat a lot of cassava suffer from neurological
abnormalities while those who eat a lot of maize suffer from pellagra, a
disease caused by a deficiency of nicotinic acid which results in insanity.
Many Ugandans are increasingly eating cassava and maize without adequate
dietary supplements.

made worse by political instability and since the 1990s the food export-oriented
economic growth policies and more recently the emphasis on food production for
cash to commercialize agriculture have contributed significantly to poor

recent rising food prices caused in large part by converting food into
livestock feed, and bio-fuels have reduced drastically access by many consumers
to foodstuffs in adequate quantity and quality for an active and healthy life.
Peasants including those in Uganda have been enticed to sell almost all their food with very little retained for
domestic consumption. The cash they are earning could end up used in treating
under-nutrition and related illnesses.

gravity of the world food crisis has received attention at national and
international levels. Early this year, the Economic and Social Council of the
United Nations (ECOSOC), the United Nations General Assembly and the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) held special sessions at
Ambassadorial, Ministerial and Heads of State levels to address the causes and impact
of rising food prices on the standard of living especially of poor and
vulnerable people – women and children – around the world.

view of the gravity of the situation, it was decided that the theme of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2008 should be
devoted to “Impact of the Global Food
Crisis and Poverty and Hunger in the World”.

the General Debate of the UN General Assembly in the week of September 22, World
Leaders spoke about the unfolding serious situation especially in Sub-Saharan
Africa arising from high prices of food. They stressed the importance of
assisting the poor and vulnerable members of the international community in the

the medium and long-term they underscored the realization of national food
sovereignty or food self-sufficiency through improved food productivity,
processing and storage. This would enable countries to feed their people first
and sale surplus. Transport and communications was also stressed so that food
can easily be moved from surplus to deficit areas within countries.

vital role of human capital through education and training, health care, food
and nutrition security and housing as well as the empowerment of women was
underscored as a principal factor in the economic transformation of nations
including food production through the Green Revolution.

report of the Irish Hunger Task Force – a country that suffered massive famine
in the 1840s – launched at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on
September 25 with a focus on Africa recommended Increasing the productivity of smallholder, mainly women, farmers in
Africa; Improving programs focused on maternal and infant under-nutrition; Ensuring
real political commitment, at national and international levels, to give hunger
the absolute priority it deserves”.

Uganda positions herself to transform economic and social structures and become
a middle class economy and society, the absolute urgency of addressing hunger
and its impact on mental health, women empowerment, child development and
school attendance and performance cannot be stressed enough. 

Uganda’s development partners are called upon to extend a
helping hand in this effort.