Hi SFYN, Greetings from the growing Network of Uganda!
As the world goes positive and much focusing on the international youth food event ever “We Feed The Planet” to discuss the challenge of who feeds the planet, Uganda is so much involved and will participate with a delegation of different small scale young producers who are a core factor in the sustainable production of food in the country.
Uganda is a country endowed with a warm climate, ample fertile land and regular rainfall which provides one of the best environments for agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa. Some of the most important agricultural production includes tea, coffee, cotton, horticulture, vanilla, fisheries, livestock and livestock products, cereals, root crops, pulses and bananas among others.
Due to the fact that Uganda is a growing country with a population mainly made of young people, it faces challenges like the industrial pressure which competes with the agricultural sector for land and labor force.
The delegation from Uganda is made of young people from various regions of the country producing in different food sectors like small scale vegetable production, piggery, fishing, bee keeping, cattle rearing and production. We are people who in one way or the other lack adequate knowledge, information and resources to meet certain production standards and formal markets specifications given our scope of production though the fact stands that we have fed, still feeding and will feed the planet. The call to recognize this specific important type of producers at a youth stage guarantees the future with sustainability in food production and will be achieved during the 3rd - 6th October 2015 event in Milan, Italy.
We have ambitions of interacting with other young small scale producers from the rest of the world and the discussions thereof will among others suggest the possible ways of how best we can feed the planet. We hope to raise awareness among young generations about the importance of food biodiversity and access to good, clean and fair food which will develop a network of leaders who are aware of the value of their land and their culture.
Meet Miracle (20) a traditional bee keeper in the south western parts of Uganda who has done this work for the past years following his ancestral traditional activities. He is a youth motivated with the traditional sustainable way of production and believes in the Good, Clean and Fair food production. He is a small scale honey producer with about 400 traditional honey combs from which he obtains the honey which he sells locally in his community.
Umar (26) is another delegate, a small scale producer of the indigenous climbing yam variety in Uganda and a type of yam which is so much important in the country due to the food security guarantee it provides and the various food nutrient component. Umar works in the central part of Uganda with a group of youths who have come out to concentrate on their cultural attached yam variety in their community. Umar adds that the empowerment to focus on this specific important crop is not only the feeling he has towards the crop but also the fact that it’s the crop he has grown seeing and it has proved to provide better standards of living including being able to afford education and as the food at home. This has been the main food crop and cash crop in their family and remembered by the great grandparents!!! He explains.
Daphine (27) is a young member of the one and only beef presidium in Africa “Ankole Long Horned Cattle Presidium”. She has lived with the traditional specific cattle breed for almost her life and the knowledge she has is more than enough information to share though thinking she has something to learn from the European cattle keeping societies. Like other women in the cattle society, she is so much involved in the production of different animal products especially the milk products.
Monica (19) is another female delegate who is a member and passionate person of the 10.000 gardens in Africa project where she has done her best in the far western parts of the country to teach and involve other young people in the production of local vegetables. She got interested and involved in the gardening activities at a young age during her early secondary school days in Ntungamo Secondary School where she coordinated the establishment and growth of the school garden with different indigenous vegetable varieties!!
Muhammad (31) is a young small scale producer of a unique high nutritional type of fish (silver fish) which is specifically caught on Lake Victoria. He represents the fishing communities of Uganda him being the contact person and coordinator of the different fishing communities and grounds around Lake Victoria. The silver fish is a specific small fish variety with a high nutrient value and less expensive due to its characteristics and not normally exported (This means no much competition). It is caught in plenty because of its high reproduction rate and a point to note is that it has very low gestation period of a month. This means that once not caught in that period, then it dies and floats on water. The silver fish is much important in the feeding of all different animals like chicken (when mixed in maize brand) and pigs among others to ensure a balanced diet because of its high nutrients, for he knows better!!
Hunnington (23) is a student at Makerere University, one of the biggest and best Universities in Africa which gathers students from all corners of the African countries. This means that the university holds different youth cultures in its community. It’s quite challenging for Hunnington to fully change the attitude of these young students from the quick fast foods to the good, clean and fair food but he has proved to have tried his best to sensitize and change their eating habits a lot not only in the university where he studies but also in other neighboring universities. Hunnington is the point behind the growth of Uganda’s Slow Food Youth network in the complicated communities of people like students who pose different reasons and factors forcing them to consume the bad fast food.
In my conclusion, I would wish to say that WE FEED THE PLANET is the perfect platform for small scale producers to show their power and capacity in the food system especially in the future and so through the crowd funding at www.wefeedtheplanet.com the interesting group of young small scale Ugandan producers will be helped raise their voices in Milan.
“See You In Milan!! WFTP | 2015”
Ivan Kigongo, Coordinator Slow Food Youth Network - Uganda