There is a general consensus that the diversion of food stuffs from direct consumption to other uses – bio-fuels and conversion of grain to meat etc – will cause food prices to rise and stay high in the foreseeable future beyond the means of poor households. There is also an agreement that while trade or barter in food should not be constrained, governments should ensure that their citizens get enough to eat for an active and healthy life first.
In order to match food demand with supply, governments are urged to support smallholder farmers who are more productive and more efficient than large-scale farmers besides being more labor-intensive.
The Madrid International Conference on Food Security for All (February 2009) concluded that smallholders should be facilitated to increase food productivity to meet the rising demand.
It is important to underscore that brain development takes place during the first three years of human life. Therefore this is the time when child nutrition should be at its best. But this is not happening in
So what do we do?
First, government must muster the political will and commitment to ensure that hunger is eradicated from
Second, our leaders must decide and implement the decision that
Third, when World Food Program purchases food from
Fourth, when WFP purchases food from surplus regions of Uganda it should ensure that some of it goes to school feeding programs in the same regions as recommended by NEPAD.
Fifth, when WFP purchases food from surplus regions, it must ensure that it goes to deficit regions of Uganda. The surplus over school feeding and over deficit regions can then be shipped outside Uganda.
Sixth, school feeding in all parts of Uganda should be a government policy to reduce school drop out especially of girls – who then delay early marriage and reduce the number of children – and improve student performance. There is overwhelming evidence in developed and developing countries that school lunches improve attendance and performance. This is also the case in Uganda schools where school lunches are provided.
Seventh, meeting school lunches can be done through parent contribution – those who can afford – and donor support such as WFP, UNICEF, UNDP and World Bank. Parents who are unable to contribute food or cash can contribute labor. Local communities and NGOs such as churches could play a significant role in this worthwhile endeavor.
Eighth, government intervention to create jobs through public works and development of skills for self-employment or work in the private sector would improve the incomes of many Ugandans to access enough food and end hunger in the Pearl of Africa.
Ninth, land tenure system should be designed to enable smallholder farmers to contribute to food production.
Tenth, these are not easy matters, but with sufficient political will and commitment they can be solved.