KAMPALA - In the face of increasing instances of severe weather patterns that are necessitating government to chip in with food aid to affected districts, government has asked communities with surplus food to bail out those with deficits instead of hoping for food relief from ministry of disaster preparedness all the time.
The new government stance, according to government chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa, is a directive by President Yoweri Museveni during a recent cabinet meeting.
“The president directed me that I communicate this message to you that the spirit of Ubuntu can help us address some of these foot shortages,” Nankabirwa told parliament yesterday after Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi, appealed for food relief for his constituency over a genre of ravenous grasshoppers ruining farmers’ livelihoods.
Ubuntu is an ethical quality that embodies the essential human virtues of compassion and humanity that is inherent in most African communities.
Magyezi told the House that the grasshoppers, very different from the edible type, are eating “everything green” in greater Bushenyi which is putting food security in the region on the line.
Citing the example of Kanungu districts where sub counties that had a healthy food supply contributed to those that were enduring food shortages a year ago, Museveni, according to Nankabirwa, contends that the same can be replicated in different parts of the country.
Nankibirwa’s assertion about community self-help when it comes to ‘hunger’ spawned a ripple of murmurs from both opposition and government benches.
A number of districts, especially those in Teso sub region, Karamoja and parts of Isingiro have of late endured severe food shortages forcing government to frequently dispatch food relief.
“When the issue of asking for food relief comes to this House, it means that all possible solutions have failed,” Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah said in rebuttal.
Last year, parliament held an emergency session over hunger in different areas of the country, making a resolution calling upon government to declare the country a disaster area with the aim of putting Uganda in the category of countries that merit food aid.
Government rejected the resolution, noting that the country was simply suffering from food shortages in isolated areas not warranting food relief from international organizations to solve.
With a number of fresh water bodies, government has borne the brunt of economic pundits for failure to expend considerable resources on weaning Uganda from dependency on rain fed agriculture through modern irrigation systems.