By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/Umoja Standard.
Kampala, Uganda: Addressing at the CSOs joint press conference aimed at highlighting their concerns on the FY2023/24 Budget Framework Paper, Mariam Akiror, the Advocacy Coordinator at USA-Uganda Mission said that there is food insecurity not only in the host but also refugee settlements due to reduction in food ratio which drive them to go to host communities to buy food.
“The price of maize floors rose from 1955 shs to 3421shs in 2022 but as of today, the cheapest price of beans in the market is 3500shs, the high-quality beans is costing about between (4,500-5,000) shs, the price of sugar is 5600shs today”. Said Mariam.
She expressed with concern that the entities that are responsible for ensuring food and nutrition security have received budget cuts in the FY2023/24 National Budget Framework Paper.
She cited that the Budget for Uganda National Bureau of Standards is projected to reduce from UGX. 1.110Billion in FY2022/23 to UGX. 940Million FY2023/24. ‘This is risky for us if we are talking about standards and safety, if they do not have sufficient budget then we are likely to have substandard goods in the market and agency not being able to do the enforcement due to limited budget’.
She also said that Local Government budget is projected to reduce from 245.49Bn FY2021/22 to 120.73BN in FY2023/24 Budget. ‘We all know that the typical grassroot people are under Local Government and if it does not have sufficient resources, even the monitoring of Parish Development Model, extension services is going to be hindered’.
‘We need to recognize that the storage, agro-processing and value addition budget is drastically reducing from 62.120BN FY201/22 to 25.812BN in FY2023/24”. Mariam quoted.
She therefore proposed that there should be direct strategic investment in water for production in response to climate change adaptation that will cater for food production throughout the year regardless of the tradition of the two seasons if we are to be food and nutrition secure.
She added that there should be investment in agricultural extension services, post-harvest handling, improving standards and access to affordable credit by small holder farmers that would help them ensure increment of their yields, productivity and management of their produce.
The further sought government to finalize the National Irrigation Master-plan- this is critical for farmers to grow food throughout the year especially in drought prone districts like Yumbe, Adjumani and Karamoja Sub region and the National Agriculture extension strategy.
“The issue of supporting interventions that are geared towards securing land ownership and access is a challenge to women and also the men though the biggest percentage in agricultural sector are the women”. Said Mariam.
“It is possible to secure a world free from hunger because it is man-made and the solutions to hunger are also with us”. She added.
In Uganda, Action Against Hunger works in five refugee settlements to prevent and treat malnutrition for young children, pregnant women, and new mothers.
Their teams educate communities on how to lead healthy lifestyles, work with farmers to grow new crops and improve their yields, and increase access to water, sanitation, and hygiene.