By Spy Uganda
United Nations World Food Program has finally decided putting more Focus on Production locally to address the challenge of Food insecurity especially for refugees.
This was disclosed by the Director United Nations World Food Program Director Uganda Abdirahman Meygag in a meeting with a self-taught fine artist Reggie Khumalo renowned for spreading the spirit of Ubuntu to the African Continent in Kampala.
United Nations World food Program is currently feeding 1.3Million refugees in Uganda hence the need of the International Community support.
“We are now focusing on individual profiling to know those in much need of food,” the Director United Nations World Food Program Abdirahman Meygag said, “Most of the food provided to the refugees is from the locals hence the need of injecting more in local Production.”
He said the time is now to support small holder farmers especially in Karamoja.
Meygag further noted that they are now supporting the fish pond business in Karamoja to boost production. United Nations World Food Program is to also work with refugees to send messages of social change to bring the situation of the refugees to the international Community.
One would not be wrong to think that the above decision is out of government pressure pressed on World Food Program.
The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hilary Onek in 2021 tasked the United Nations to buy food from Ugandan farmers to feed refugees or relocate them to countries supplying it.
Onek argued that claims that local produce lacks quality is an excuse to ring-fence lucrative food supply for foreigners.
“We are going to discuss this matter in Cabinet and we are [not] going to allow procurement of food outside the country by the World Food Programme (WFP), let the money remain here,” he said during a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala.
The minister was responding to remarks by Rosa Malango, the United Nations Resident coordinator, that WFP was unable to purchase food locally because of “poor quality” of Uganda’s foodstuffs.
“One of the issues to tackle, honourable minister, is the issue of quality of post-harvest handling. This is the only reason why despite investing for several years, we have not been able to purchase locally [produced food] in Uganda,” Malango said.
However, in response, Onek said: “I don’t agree that our farmers toil and suffer to get market for their produce, and then you are telling me the quality. Which quality has failed? All of you (UN officials) are eating Ugandan food you buy from the market here. Why are you thinking of quality now? I don’t agree with that because that is a way of protecting [food market for] the foreign [people] in America and other places. You want money to remain there. We also want market for our food and we are very strong on that.”
He added: “All these Ugandans here, including me, are eating our food and they haven’t died. These people (refugees) are coming to our country; do we have to import food to keep them here while we have our own food? If they don’t want to eat our food, let them go where the other food is [coming from].”