Mixing more voices into food policy

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Lauren Sahatoo

 

It is known to all, that agriculture is of crucial importance to our planet as well as our diet. Our diet pertains to our health. However, why is the diversity of voices silenced in shaping our food system? Food policies should be planned with people and not for people. According to a “Hivos people unlimited” article, it reviewed the “Food Change Lab” in Uganda that assembled a multitude of voices that works for everyone including ordinary citizens. Hivos, together with IIED and KRC, engages with a ‘change lab’ approach in the rapidly changing Kabarole region of Western Uganda. This approach caters for sustainable innovation in local food policy and planning which allows the unheard voices to be heard. Policy runs a risk of failure when it doesn’t reflect the lives of people it targets. The people who spend most of their earnings on food and are most at stake in the food system – from the small scale farmers to the low income consumers- their voices reflect the most say. In April 2016, Uganda’s first People’s Summit on Food opened this forum to a wider group of voices from Fort Portal city, Kabarole district and national institutions. It gave rise to the Agahikaine coalition – bringing together individual farmers and small scale processors, local NGOs, municipal government, elders, SMEs and the Uganda Small Scale Industries Association. This coalition of the willing is in its early stages of formation but is pushing ahead with its goal to bring more voices into policy and planning around food safety, food availability, agro processing and balanced diets based on traditional knowledge.

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