WORLD FOOD DAY
Vision Group has today joined the rest of the world to celebrate the 41st World Food Day, with as special broadcast on all its television and radio stations, as well as social media platforms.
Starting at 3:00pm, the broadcast brought together respected names in Uganda's food sector in a panel discussion that was broadcast and engaged participants from across the country.
This day also marked the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
Themed "Grow, nourish, sustain. Together. Our actions are our future", this year's international celebration was mostly scientific given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year's theme encourages awareness of sustainable agricultural practices, while celebrating food heroes who work to provide food for the world and calls for global solidarity in ensuring adequate access to nutritious food for all despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with this, the Vision panel discussion this afternoon focused on food security and nutrition. Moderated by Vision education editor, Conan Businge, the rich line up of panellists included former agriculture minister Victoria Sekitoleko, Agnes Kirabo, the executive director of Food Rights Alliance and Robert Serwanga, the director Agrarian Services.
In pointing out what the magic bullet for Uganda was, Kirabo described food as "the proverbial Golden Goose for Uganda and decision makers need to realize and buy into."
"If Uganda focuses on feeding every mouth in East Africa at least once a day, our economy will be sorted out," she said.
Sekitoleko and Serwanga called for legislation and policy reforms that will ensure farming is a worthwile venture in Uganda and nutrition needs of Ugandans are prioritised.
"We need to set up policies that target good nutrition across the country. For example, ensure that every child is school eats an egg at least twice a week," Serwanga said.
The discussion, which was aired live on Vision Group TV stations, Bukedde TV 1, Bukedde TV 2, Urban TV or TV West, also saw several farmers and players in the food sector from across the country call in and share their views in real time.
On phone from upcountry were Teddy Wabomba, a mixed farmer from Soroti; Nicholas Matsiko, a dairy farmer from Mbarara; Titia Kamure, a farmer from Arua; Tom Anyii, a bee keeper in Lira; Timothy Jokene, a crop and animal husbandary farmer; and Dennis Komakech, horticulture specialist from Lira.
In answering the question of how to ensure that farming in Uganda can ably meet the food demands of the populace, Teddy Wabomba, said: "Ugandans need to treat farming as a business not as a fall back position for school fees needs, leaving the family with no food."
On the issue of nutrition, she had a memorable quote for us: "All the food we need to kick malnutrition out of Uganda is available; but ignorance leads us to sell simsim or millet and buy macaroni for our children," she said.
Most of the farmers on the call urged the government to step up their efforts and suppoprt to the agriculture sector. "Nutritious food in the right quantities can be provided by farmers in Uganda if the focus on extension services is looked into," Kamure said.
The discussion was also carried on Bukedde FM, Radio West and Rupiny Radio. Vision audiences were able to follow the discussion on all the TV and radio stations are available on the New Vision Digital Experience on mobile devices so anyone can tune in at their convenience.
The unique broadcast was also streamed live on the Bukedde and New Vision Facebook pages.