Plan Food Production, Plan Produce, Prohibit Food Waste

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By Regina Kayoyo

Reaping the rewards of Planning Farm ProductionIt has always been a widely held misconception that food wastage occurs at the household consumption level or the consumer level. Discussions around the concept of food wastage conjure images of food being thrown away by families at the end of a meal, during holidays and other such gatherings. Although this is true, the concept of food wastage ought to be expanded further than this single level. The processes of wasting food have been tracked by various actors as occurring along the entire food chain that is – from production to the actual consumption of the food. On the other hand, critical to this dimension, is waste through the mismanagement of the productive resources used to produce this food.

Profiling the ways in which food is lost and wasted at these different stages is of vital importance and should be seen as a measure of curbing food insecurity at the household level in Uganda. Strategies including raising awareness through campaigns, information, training, and measuring waste have been applied by different organizations but these should be ongoing. Essentially, how do we utilize productive resources like land to their fullest capacity to avoid food wastage, and in doing so, curb food insecurity?

Planning for food production and consumption is one of the food security models implemented under the project; “Promoting the right to food and nutrition security as a measure of reducing vulnerability to child trafficking”. This project, implemented by FRA and her field partners War on Want NI (WoWNI), Soroti Rural Development Association (SORUDA) and Wera Development Association (WEDA), is supported by the Independent Development Fund (IDF). The goal of this project is to increase appreciation of the right to food and nutrition security as a measure of addressing social-economic challenges including child vulnerability to trafficking in Katakwi and Soroti district. In this model, food waste is a core valuable of food security and an aspect of production across the food chain.

Traditionally, the farming practice of these beneficiaries has been to plant crops and separate the produce to cater for household food consumption and sale. Although during the initial interactions with the project beneficiaries the concept of partitioning gardens was not well appreciated by smallholder farmers, this perception has been gradually altered.

The methods used for farm planning have included; visioning, mapping, selection of food and cash crops of high and nutritional value for good health. The methodology also sought to create awareness on soil improvement, soil and water conservation, and water needs of particular crops (rain-fed and irrigation for vegetables). This proper appropriation of land has maximally leveraged this resource for the betterment of these societies.

Testimonies from different farmer groups that FRA and her partners are working with have confirmed the success from this smart appropriation of this productive resource. The success registered from these methodologies have aided in securing the full utilization of land for the production of food. In so doing, this practice insures a more secure future for many families.

“Separation of food for household consumption and food for the market right from production to consumption makes me value every small grain of my green grams” says Akiror Grace an FRA model farmer in Asuret sub-county, Soroti district.

The concept of planning production goes up to planning for harvesting, storage and eventually consumption. Farmers who previously suffered from household food insecurity due to wasteful practices of managing their production and produce are testifying the comfort, peace, security and hope for the future as they look at separated secured stocks of food for both marketing and household food security.

To Akiror, it is the value of every single grain of green gram. But in context, she cannot afford wasting it.