As a country, we should rethink food availability, access and sustainable incomes that support food security. Below are some of the ways through which food insecurity and hunger can be inclusively combated.
Expansion of social security protection schemes: First and foremost, the government should deeply reflect on the issue of the vulnerable people and devise strategies and measures to sustainably support them. This can be done through expansion of social security protection schemes for the vulnerable. Social security goes beyond focusing only on life in retirement.
It keenly involves looking at the welfare of citizens especially vulnerable groups. The government should institute as well as implement a policy on “food for all”. A well-fed nation equals a strong and resourceful manpower as hunger and malnutrition negatively impacts human capital, economic productivity and national development.
Pave the road from farm to market: There are places where food production is in excess and a lot of it goes to waste simply because of poor rural infrastructure. The roads are impassable, no adequate food storage facilities and no reliable electricity.
These challenges hinder farmers from reaching a wider consumer base thus, denying access to affordable and nutritious food for those in need.
To ensure food for all, there should be innovation and investment in making our supply chains more efficient by developing sustainable durable markets and alleviating all encumbrances to access and availability.
Reduce food waste: According to Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations, world hunger is on the rise yet about one third of the food produced each year is lost or wasted costing the global economy nearly US $ 1 trillion annually.
In developed countries food is often wasted on the plate, while in developing countries it’s lost during production as crops go unused or unprocessed because of poor storage or farmers can not get their goods to the market.
Everyone has a part to play in reducing food loss and waste. Government should work with local leaders to promote awareness and advocacy on food security and to develop policies aimed at minimizing food loss and waste.
Furthermore, consumers should be encouraged to change their individual attitudes, behaviors, consumption and shopping habits related to food.
This can be done through sensitization campaigns particularly focusing on providing information on safe food handling, proper food storage in households and understanding the food freshness durability in order to prevent and reduce food waste.
Encourage a sustainable variety of crops: We should not throw out or forget the traditional crops that have fed generations.
Instead, we should seek to benefit from both the traditional and the new varieties. In addition to this, revisiting best farming practices from the earlier years is also imperative. Merging these strategies is likely to help in mitigating food insecurity.
Make nutrition a priority, starting with a child’s first 1000 days: Nothing is more important to the development of a child than good health and nutrition, particularly in the first 1000 days of their life ( from conception to the age of two).
To prevent stunting and health development, there must be the commitment to ensure that children and nursing mothers have access to the required nutritious foods.
Food security cannot be achieved by retrenching from the market and believing that smallholder farmers alone can guarantee their own food security and that of the country.
National food security will be underpinned by a mix of small, medium and large contributors and by domestic as well as international markets. There is just no single panacea to this food insecurity challenge but joint and comprehensive efforts will undoubtedly make better.
Ms Katherine Nabuzale is a writer, researcher and social analyst. [email protected]