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PRIME: Caritas Uganda through the Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform kick-starts a campaign against food contamination/Unsafe food in Uganda

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By Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa/KMA Updates.

Participants are seen paying attention to presentationms during National Dialogue on compaign against food contamination/Unsafe food conducted by Caritas Uganda and Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform at Hotel Africana. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

Kampala, Uganda: Policy strengthening and re-design stood out as one of sustainable measures to food safety during National Dialogue conducted by Caritas Uganda and Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform.

While giving her comments during the meeting, Hon. Betty Ethel Naluyima, the Wakiso district Woman MP and member of Parliamentary Forum on Food Safety said that the current legislations on food safety were outdated and could not facilitate the consumer protection.Hon. Betty Ethel Naluyima, the Wakiso district Woman MP and Member of Parliamentary Forum on Food Safety speaks during National Dialogue on compaign against food contamination/Unsafe food conducted by Caritas Uganda and Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform at Hotel Africana. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

“The current Food and Drug Act dates back in 1964 which is fatal therefore we shall soon go on the floor of Parliament to move a motion on amendment of the latter and Food Safety Act in order to manage the food chain “. She informed.

She gave an example of Kampala and Wakiso districts where over 80% of the population don’t practice agriculture directly but consume food consistently, adding that the amendments in the law would save the population from consuming unsafe foods.

Hon. Naluyima challenged the academicians and researchers in the meeting to aid the parliamentary forum on food safety with research findings that can aid the push for revision and or formulation of new laws and policies for healthy living.

Ms. Consolata Acayo; who is the Assistant Commissioner information and communication at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries expressed discontent on fragmented and uncoordinated National Food Safety Control Systems, saying that it was the spark-off point for the mess in the food system in the country.Ms. Consolata Acayo; who is the Assistant Commissioner information and communication at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries presents during National Dialogue on compaign against food contamination/Unsafe food conducted by Caritas Uganda and Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform at Hotel Africana. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

She added that the challenges of unsafe food were a collection of production on farm, harvesting, storage, transportation, on market, processing, preparation and consumption, therefore there was need to revitalize the food chain.

Ms. Acayo cited an example of how as a country we emphasize safety of food exported and pay no attention on the eaten in the country. She then wondered who was there to assure the quality of the food eaten by Ugandans. Unsafe food is not food and there cannot be food security without food safety”. She remarked.

The Assistant commissioner said that there was need for multi-sectoral coordination and advocacy in the formulation of strong policies if Uganda is to address food safety issues; adding that there was a need for everyone to join the fight.

Msgr. Dr. Francis Ndamira, the Executive Director of Caritas Uganda and the host of  the National Dialogue on compaign against food contamination/Unsafe food in Uganda delivers his remarks. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

While giving his submission, Msgr. Dr. Francis Ndamira the Executive Director of Caritas Uganda on his part said that there was need to guiding farmers, manufacturers, and distributors on the consequences of food contamination and unsafe food.”Enacting laws to regulate importation and packaging, awareness raising on inappropriate use of agrochemicals, promotion of organic farming and subsidizing of soil testing equipment by government are fundamental to this cause”. Msgr. Ndamira cited.

He went on to inform that as a national organization, Caritas Uganda commenced on the campaign focusing on humanity through food safety and security education to their farmers.

He pointed out that Caritas also sensitizes the farmers it works with to adopt to commercial farming, adding that Caritas from time to time helps farmers to negotiate for better markets; after supporting them with skills and techniques on quality assurance.

Dr. Mugabe Frank Rwabinumi the Principle Medical Officer, Non Communicable Diseases at Ministry of Health who was present and gave a technical presentation on NCDs recognized need to promote health diets rich in fruits less in salts, sugars, alcohol and tobacco consumption.Dr. Mugabe Frank Rwabinumi the Principle Medical Officer, Non Communicable Diseases at Ministry of Health presents his speech during National Dialogue on compaign against food contamination/Unsafe food conducted by Caritas Uganda and Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform at Hotel Africana. Photo by Julius Mugaga Tukacungurwa.

“We need to protect our children from being exposed to unhealthy food as this impacts negatively on their health hence unproductive citizens”. Dr. Mugabe stated.

He mentioned that unsafe food results in health complications like; diabetics, hypertension, cardial-varsicular diseases and cancer, among others.

He revealed that Ministry of Health had embarked on a drive to create awareness amongst the population and working with different concerned stakeholders (like Caritas Uganda and Uganda Farmers Common Voice Platform) to run the campaign on food safety.

Members at the dialogue pointed out the need for political will and passion among all stakeholders if the campaign on safe food is to succeed, adding that mainstreaming food safety and nutrition in the education curriculum right from lower primary to the tertiary levels, while capitalizing on advocacy in the entire agricultural value chain.

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