Food Shortages in Uganda?

Food shortages have made headlines in the news recently. The debates appears to be split into 2 schools of thought.

  1. Says that with need to grow more food as the population grows it is likely that there will not be enough for us all and that African countries and India are especially affected
  2. the other that we already produce enough food to feed double the current population we just need to get it to where it is needed! In addition that those pushing for more food are simply interested in promoting the GM agenda

I am not sure who is right or wrong here  but I found myself agreeing with the second opinion in relation  to yesterday’s headline on  Uganda specifically North eastern Uganda

I have to stress at this point that the only aspect of point I agree with in relation to Uganda at least is that there is plenty of food, however it does not get to where where it is needed. I don’t doubt that people in Karamoja are starving either. But I wonder why this is? Travelling through other parts of Uganda especially,  to the West, SW and centre of the country one notices the abundance of food.A quick visit to local food markets around Kampala – the capital of Uganda and you will note how much food is going to waste

The question is where is it all going wrong? Why isn’t all this food getting through to North Eastern Uganda? The region has it’s own Minister who happens to be the President wife, so I can’t imagine that it is due to lack of political will but then again I could be wrong.

What about the role of the World Food Programme? Are they doing the best they can do or simply pushing the FOOD AID AGENDA?

We debated their involvement in Zimbabwe and Kenya over at Africa on The  Blog.

Another interesting point of view that was put forward by the think tank CHATHAM HOUSE was that we need to work out how to secure the food we have- in the west food is wasted between the fridge and the plate whilst in developing nations food is wasted between the fields and the plate. In developing nations there is an urgent need to come with ways to preserve food once it leaves the fields/farms.  This is very true and it could be the answer to food problems.

What do you think? Do you agree with either opinion?


  1. says

    I’m prone to think it’s a combination of both but leaning more to the 2nd reasoning. I probably stand to be corrected by base my suspicions on the infrastructure which is still below par in terms of delivery of healthcare/education/transport network etc which I suspect will play some part in stemming the population growth feared. With globalisation taking afoot, conglomerate are moving in for the kill in t he ways of patenting all things they can be mass produced. Food is one of the commodities secondary to drugs, arms and fuel. In Uganda’s situation as with many others in similar situations before, lack of political and social consesual purpose or awareness, perpetuated by poverty is a green light for conglomerates to exploit. They are predominantly business people with no social justice interests that may get in the way of profits and control. You have to ask why is it that when aid or donations are offered through whatever MDG programs; why it is structured to our (developed) way of production as opposed to intergrating and/or building upon practical and viable means that your average wannainchi/joe bloggs can apply readily without becoming dependent on the patented seeds/products. Mass agriculture will inadvertently require equipment, market access amongst all else. Do these equipment come free of charge or the market at that? Ida, you touch on some of these obstacles in your previous posting which show the imbalance already that exists on the global market that sustains Africa in the poverty margins. Africans need to develop their own sustainable research alongside external ones, not merely adopting ready-made solutions.

    • Anonymous says

      Infrastructure is certainly a large part of the problem of food distribution in Uganda but the biggest obstacle as far as I can see is government will. I recall attending an investment summit in Uganda and the Executive Director announced that Uganda was the third largest contributor to FOOD AID in the region. You can understand my reaction therefore to news that folk in Karamoja are starving.

      Another challenge is the attitude of most of us Africans including our leaders, that someone else will take care of us! This means that problems of starving citizens that governments can solve easily are left for donors and NGOs

  2. says

    There is a very large body of opinion that what most hungry (as opposed to starving) people need is access to markets. I fight shy of this bc it’s then used to justify large corps moving in and creating those markets, but it shows a) that the food is there and b) that all that lacks is the government’s will to create the infrastructure (roads, warehouses etc) to support that access.

    In the meantime (and I know this is off the point) I also get furious at the landgrab which is justified by bringing modern farming techniques to communities. Again, ppl don;t need those techniques, they need the access to markets to buy and sell as needed. (“market forces” he mutters darkly).

    Finally I think we also need to remember that alot of food waste in the “developed” world comes from over consumption (eating too much of the wrong things) and plain waste (throwing it away). Eliminating these won’t **solve** the problem, but they will go a long way to helping.

    Oh, finally finally I’ve grown very wary of aid ever since Haiti. It’s become very obvious there that the US at least, and quite probably other countries, are using aid as a for-profit tool to bolster their own economies. Er, that’s not aid.

    I know I’ve wandered away from the specifics of Uganda, but the fact aid (and no doubt landgrab later) is a proposed solution just goes to show how much money talks and how little common sense .. as you’ve so well expressed here, Ida .. can bring to bear on the situation. If there’s any fault in this sorry tale it lies squarely at the door of the government involved for shirking their responsibilities.