By: Ismael Kasooha
Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja Monday addressed the 1st Asia-Pacific and Africa women’s economic summit and asked Governments to prioritize food security for the good of children and mothers.
While addressing First Ladies from Asia, Pacific and Africa in the Japanese capital Tokyo, Nabbanja said that leaders need to appreciate that mindset change is key.
Nabbanja, who is representing Uganda at the Summit said that food insecurity adversely affects the health and education of our children consequently leading to school drop outs among other challenges.
Nabbanja expressed concern that the gains Uganda had achieved in ensuring the people of Karamoja were food secure were affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic and prolonged drought in the area.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic coupled with the long drought affected our efforts in ensuring the people of Karamoja are food secure leading to hunger,” said Nabbanja.
She called upon development partners in Asia to support efforts aimed at ensuring the common person is food secure because this is the lowest common multiple of development.
Nabbanja asked the international community to support Uganda’s effort to host refugees from the neighboring countries adding that since the Ukraine-Russia conflict, the support to refugees had dwindled.
“Currently Uganda is home to over 1.5 million Refugees from our sister countries but some partners have turned their goal posts to the Ukraine-Russia war leaving these vulnerable persons,” said Nabbanja.
On feeding school children, Nabbanja while delivering the message of the First Lady Mrs. Janet Museveni, lauded the First Lady for initiating programmes such as UWESO that played a great role in bringing hope to vulnerable women and children.
Zimbabwe’s first lady Mrs. Auxillia Mnangagwa and other First Ladies shared their views on food security and how the situation can be addressed.
These challenges include the 3Cs of Climate change, COVID-19 and Conflict.
“Zimbabwe is facing challenges in food security because of Climate change, COVID-19 pandemic in addition to Conflict. We are now embarking on a nationwide programme to support farmers with irrigation schemes but also allocate land to them for agriculture,” said Mrs. Mnangagwa.
Monica Chakwera, Malawi’s First Lady said that as women, when children of a neighbor are starving, you must get concerned and feed them. She asked countries in Asia to support fellow women in Africa feed their children because they also belong to them.
The Japan International cooperation Agency (JICA) pledged for more support to countries to address food security concerns and also improve the livelihoods of the people. The summit attracted First Ladies and women leaders from Africa, Asia and the Pacific under the theme “To cope with food crises for the future of children, by mothers”.