The experts during the launch of the policy brief on preventing Nutrient loss and Waste across the food System produced by the Global panel on Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition at the Speke Resort Munyonyo on Tuesday November 13
Industry Wellness

Regulate Food Importation to protect Ugandans, experts tell government

KAMPALA – Nutritionist experts and food scientists want government to control the importation of food items in the country saying some of these may expose Ugandans to diseases.

The experts were attending the launch of the policy  brief on preventing  Nutrient loss and  Waste across the food  System produced  by  the Global panel on Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition (GLOPAN) at the  Speke Resort Munyonyo on Tuesday November 13.

They noted that some food Items imported into the country lack the necessary nutrients since majority are industry processed one.

GLOPAN is an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security.

Junk food

Associate Professor Dorothy Nakimbugwe from the Department of Food Technology and Nutrition Makerere University said government should strengthen regulations relating to food importation to stop Uganda from becoming a dumping ground for junk food products.

“We need to protect our nationals from consuming junk foods being imported into the country. If it is not regulated, junk food will expose Ugandan to diseases which in the long run affects the labour productivity majorly of the younger generation,” she said.

Junk food is a pejorative term for food containing a large number of calories from sugar or fat with little dietary fiber, protein, vitamins or minerals.

She observed that consuming nutritious foods is critical in human development thus the government should safeguard the lives of its people by ensuring that only food items rich with nutrients are imported into the country.

Discussing the policy  brief, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime the former Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union said the increasing incidences of food loss and waste of nutritious foods  need to be addressed due to its economic Impact on the economies of various African states .

“Reducing  loss and waste of nutritious  foods would yield  substance  benefits  far beyond  addressing  hunger  and malnutrition  to encompass economies  and natural  environment. The gains made would contribute to the efficiencies needed to address climate change,” she elaborated.

The  policy  brief examines  the many ways  in which food  loss and waste  occurs  across the  food system; from  agricultural  production to processing  and packaging, storage and transportation, among other processes.

Preventing food loss and wastage

It also directs policy makers on what intervention should be taken in order to mitigate the issues of food loss and waste. Among the priority areas for action the policy brief produced by the Global panel on Agriculture and Food System for Nutrition suggests that governments should take the following actions:

Encouraging  innovation  solutions  to protect nutrients, the brief notes that innovation technologies  have great potential  to protect  nutrients  from farm to fork and tackle  losses  of perishable , nutritious  foods  in lower income countries. Other solution is the Improving public and private infrastructure for well-functioning and efficient food system.

The policy brief notes that  Efficient  market, storage, cold  Chains  and processing  infrastructure  can play vital role  in helping  to  avoid  losses.

“Given that  public funds  for these  actions may be limited, government  should  consider  promoting  an enabling environment  for the private sector  by  ensuring friendly business legal  and regulatory flame work are in place,” the policy  brief suggest in a part.

During the launch, participants said Uganda losses about 40% of her agricultural harvest through harvest loss; this means that Uganda is losing about 15% of the sector, Gross Domestic Product Contributions.

Dr. Dick Kamugunga, the president of Uganda National farmers Federation asked Government to support small holder farmers to adopt more technologies that can support them to reduce nutrient loss and food waste.

Launching the policy  brief, the Minister for state in charge of Northern Uganda Grace Kwiyucwiny said government is committed to ensure that the problem of food loss is worked on, but noted that for the government to succeed all stakeholders should play their roles.