NAME: AMANDA SOOKDEO ID NO.: 812117269
Population growth and rapid urbanization combined with other stresses such as climate change, extreme weather conditions and environmental degradation add to the already growing pressure of obtaining food security hence food policies are imposed on building a sustainable food system. Ellis (1996) defines food policy as the incorporation of governmental efforts to minimize factors negatively affecting the supply, distribution and consumption of food and hence ensure that citizens have a continuous access to sufficient amounts of food. Food policy focuses mainly on the adequacy of staple foods vital for the survival of the people in a country, not only the production of food. Food policy also deals with rectifying the disproportion between the availability of food and obtaining access to the food, varying/unequal incomes and poverty hinders food accessibility and causes incidences of starving or undernutrition in different sectors of a population.
The article titled “Mixing More Voices into Food Policy,” by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) discusses the innovative initiative of both IIED and Hivos together with the Kabarole Research and Resource Centre (KRC) working with a ‘Food Change Lab’ in the western region of Uganda to include not only the voices of municipal authorities but also that of the citizens; including low-income farmers (suppliers), informal traders and vendors (distributors) and rural Ugandan households (consumers). These voices assist in ‘molding’ a food system that would benefit everyone since those aforementioned are the people who spend a huge portion of their income on food and are therefore directly affected. Mixing More Voices into Food Policy (2016) states that some food policies often fail because it does not reflect the livelihood of those it targets which I completely agree with, having regular citizens voice their concerns and/or opinions will bring forth underlying food and nutrition issues.
The Food system in Uganda is limited by a number of factors such as inadequate financial services, poor agricultural facilities, inadequate storage and processing facilities, poor food sales and the over-dependence on rain sustained agriculture. Vision 2040, Uganda’s National Planning Document, discusses intentions for an accelerated shift from sustenance farming to commercial agriculture which was one of the issues discussed in the ‘change lab.’ Change labs are social spaces that welcome the emergence of innovations and the testing of inventions. While there are many advantages to a ‘change lab’ the lab remains a medium for discussion and still requires authorization for the implementation of any policy by Uganda’s government. While countries aim to create food security for citizens a natural disaster or extreme weather conditions can destroy all efforts in a matter of minutes. There are no measures in place to deal with a naturally occurring phenomenon.
“Mixing Voices into Food Policy” is an effective initiative to deal with food security not only in the Western Region of Uganda but should be implemented throughout the country and countries in the world. To encourage meaningful discussions that lead to successful inventions or sustainable solutions in the ‘change labs’ small incentives can be given to those citizens and encourage others to participate. Most importantly, together we can raise awareness on the importance of food and nutrition and achieve a hygienic, nutritious food system.
Ellis, Frank. 1996. Agricultural Policies in Developing Countries. 1st ed. Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Jongen, W. M. F, and M. T. G Meulenberg. 2005. Innovation In Agri-Food Systems. 1st ed. Wageningen: Wageningen Publishers.
“Mixing More Voices into Food Policy”. 2016. International Institute for Environment And Development. https://www.iied.org/mixing-more-voices-food-policy.