As Uganda joins the rest of the world to mark world food wastage day, govt and CSO are worried with the high levels of food wastage among Ugandans which stand at 30-40%.
Addressing a news conference today, in Kampala, the agriculture minister, Vincent Sempijja notes that there are measures being set up by government to ensure that food wastage is minimized among Ugandans.
Food is lost or wasted throughout various stages of the food supply chain. During agricultural production, crops, and harvest can become damaged or spilled, animals may die to disease. Crops, animals, fish or milk may be lost during post-harvest handling, storage, in transportation, processing and consumption. During processing, food may be lost or degraded during washing, pealing, canning and packaging. During distribution, food may be lost or wasted during transport, at wholesale markets, supermarkets, retailers, and eventually consumers may waste food by throwing or discarding food away.
With over 132 million people on the verge of being undernourished, 1/3 of the food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted 2
globally, which amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year.
In a country where Malnutrition is still a great threat especially to the young generation (Children), more than 1/3 of all children (2.4 million) are stunted and the proportion of the food secure population has declined from 83% in July 2016 to 69% in January 2017, with an estimated 10.9 million people experiencing acute food insecurity and of which 1.6 million are in a crisis situation (IPC Report 2017). Globally around 14 percent of food produced is lost between harvest and retail, whereas there are significant quantities that are also lost and wasted at the consumption level.
In Uganda up to 40% of the Fruit and vegetable goes to waste especially along the supply chain or are lost to disease, pests, and rot, which are all benchmarked from sale of fake inputs on the market which results into Food wastage before production and wastage during production. More than 12 percent of maize grain produced in Uganda gets lost and wasted on the field due to prolonged field drying and late harvest, and another 18 percent is lost during transportation, processing, drying and poor storage. In 2014 alone, the Uganda National Framers Federation estimated the annual food loss and wastage to have 16 billion shillings, yet it could have been used in time of shortage, or crisis to feed the food insecure citizens.
Food loss and wastage doesn’t not only mean that food alone is wasted during the process, however all the resources that are and were involved in the production of the food; water, land, labor, energy, capital and the respective inputs go to waste. It should be noted that it takes 3 liters of water to grow one tomato, and 50 liters of water to produce on orange fruit. Furthermore, wastage and disposal of food as well affects the environment, and the natural resource greatly leading to greenhouse gas emissions contributing
Agnes Kirabo a food rights activist says in Kampala city, solid waste is managed by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in collaboration with private companies, statistics indicate that each households in Kampala generates approximately between 0.5 kg to 1.1 kg per capita of solid waste and majority of the solid waste is food left on the plate. Going by Kampala’s population estimated at 1.5 million (UBOS), it should be noted that about 750,000kg or 750 tons of waste are generated in Kampala per day, with majority being the food left on the plates, and food loss especially in the markets contributing up to 37.8% (food waste)- (Kampala Sun-Fight Against Food Waste)
High food losses are result from poor post-harvest handling practices (poor drying and moisture content at time of storage), inadequate and inappropriate storage facilities, limited value addition, filth and contamination, infestation by micro-organisms especially fungus that leads to aflatoxins. The food losses and wastage greatly contribute to and exacerbate hunger situations, poverty and food insecurity in the country. Currently, annual post-harvest loss stands at 17.6% for about 2.8 million metric tons, 12.4% of about 214000 metric tons, and 13.5% of 230,000 metric tons of maize, millet and rice produced in the country respectively (Food and Agriculture Organization, SAVE FOOD; Global Initiative on Food Loss and Waste Reduction)
Agricultural production is key especially for a country that benchmarks on the sector to feed, and improve livelihoods of many 4
citizens, have employment levels of 72%. However majority of the food lost and wasted in the country is at the production level. The sale and marketing of fake agricultural inputs to farmers, the findings by the EPRC indicate that imported fertilizers have 1.8 % moisture content, the retail fertilizers have 1.92% and the re-packed fertilizers having the composition of 2.8% of moisture content, with all such content is higher than the international recommended content which 1.5% thus making those above 1.5% to be counterfeit fertilizers.