The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said the current food shortage in the country is a result of climatic changes caused by human destruction of the environment through swamp reclamation and deforestation.
The Premier said 60% of the rains come from the Oceans while 40% from the wetlands, adding that there is need to conserve wetlands so that the country can secure 40% of the rainfall.
Dr Rugunda made the remarks on Thursday at the Office of the Prime Minister while launching a national strategy for food security in the country and also flagging off Ministers and their technical teams to the field to address the food shortage issue.
PM Rugunda addresses some of the Ministers and their technical teams on Thursday at the Office of the Prime Minister before flagging them off to the field (Photo by PMPU)
The 17 Ministers responsible with their technical teams have been divided into groups of seven and dispatched countrywide to seven sub-regions. The sub- regions are West Nile, Northern, Karamoja, Eastern, Busoga, Central and Western.
The teams and the area local leaders are expected to sensitise the communities about the food crisis and also come up with ways of coping and responding to the emergency in various ways such as practising small scale irrigation, growing strategic crops, conserving the environment, ensuring proper planning, and disengaging from idleness among others.
Dr Rugunda called upon the people to restrain from food wastage and use it rationally. He added that planting of leafy vegetables which are quick maturing crops, consuming food sparingly as well as harvesting water and using it sparingly among others are some of the practises that should be enhanced by the people to enable them respond to the emergency effectively.
He also echoed the need to conserve the environment by restraining from bushing burning, swamp reclamation, deforestation and other activities that endanger the environment. He also emphasised the need by Local governments to enforce bye- laws concerning the environment.
“We are in shortage because we have destroyed and divested wetlands! Destruction of wetlands, means opening of water and within no time, you have no water,” the Prime Minister said.
He also called upon the leaders to sensitize, monitor and inform the population about the climatic changes and how to deal with them.
The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees, Hon Hilary Onek called for hard work and sensitization of the people especially the youth about wealth creation and the dangers of gambling.
He also advised the people to practise the traditional methods of storing and preserving food such as building and using food granaries.
“Dry spells have been happening, it’s not the first time, however traditionally, we used to have granaries for storage of food which we no longer have unfortunately. The youth have also stopped being productive as they used to be and ought to be,” Onek said.
The groups are expected to spend tentatively twelve days in the field assessing the situation and also make follow ups regarding the strategies put in place.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA