What you need to know:
Through indigenous food fairs, communities have become aware of the importance of reviving their traditional food practices and production, leading to increased local resilience and food security.
Hundreds of farmers from across the country gathered at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala to present the case for conserving indigenous food-crops, and their products.
The fair organised by Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Uganda, had farmers showcase their indigenous and traditional foods and drinks.
Since 2008, PELUM Uganda embarked on a campaign to restore the utilisation and conservation of indigenous and traditional foods among communities in Uganda.
Several activities have been undertaken to this effect including national and regional food fairs, documentation of indigenous and traditional foods in Uganda and implementing projects to revamp indigenous food and seeds.
Prof Charles Ssekyewa an expert in agro-ecology said showcasing traditional food crops reminds farmers the importance of nutrition.
“Congratulations to PELUM Uganda for organising this fair that celebrates indigenous and traditional foods and bringing together people from all walks of life to showcase their indigenous and traditional knowledge,” said Prof Ssekyewa.
“We have observed that a lot has been done at the traditional level but it has not been translated into market orientation and we would like to ensure that these farmers as much as they produce traditional organic agriculture are also able to market them as value added food for export markets,” Prof Ssekyewa says.
“We are interested in conserving bio diversity in Uganda and we have been organising annual indigenous food fairs for the past 11 years. We are looking at how our indigenous food provides the diversity we need to boost our nutritional needs,” said Ms Stellah Lutalo country coordinator PELUM.
About the Fair
The major objective is to showcase the actual and potential contribution of farmer managed seed systems on conservation of agricultural biodiversity, food security and food sovereignty of smallholder farming communities and Uganda at large.
The Fair also enables participating groups to showcase different indigenous and traditional foods and seeds from different Ugandan societies, their preservation, preparation, innovation, value addition and consumption.
In addition to that, the Fair is used as a platform for creation of awareness on the value of indigenous/ traditional food systems, farmer managed seed systems and their contribution to agro-biodiversity preservation and food sovereignty as well as dialogue and experience sharing on the policy frameworks, benefits, current threats and challenges faced by FMSS and strategies to promote them.
The fair features a series of activities including exhibition of indigenous/traditional/cultural foods and seed, related indigenous knowledge, technologies and value addition by the different exhibitors as well as presentations and key note address on farmer-managed seed systems, and sharing of relevant information packages.