By our Reporter-Fort Portal
Kabarole District Council has in a landmark initiative amended its current Food Security Ordinance to cater for sustainable food diets . The initiative that was spearheaded by Kabarole Research and Resource Centre and the Coalition of the Willing (Agahikaine), with financial support from Hivos, and IIED, came against the backdrop of the processes to influence Sustainable Diets for All (SD4All). The meeting took place on the 14th September, 2027 at Kabarole District Council Hall in Fort Portal
Key on the agenda was the need to review and amend the Kabarole District Production and Environment Management Ordinance, 2006 in the spirit of influencing a food system that meets the population’s dietary needs in the limits of a healthy ecosystem. The meeting was facilitated by KRC and targeted the leadership of Kabarole District Local Government, the Council and technical staff.
The KRC Executive Director, who was represented by Ms Bihunirwa Medius the Head of Farmer Enterprise Development Unit, expressed gratitude to the leadership of Kabarole District Local Government led by the Chairperson LCV and the District Speaker for accepting to work with KRC in advancing the idea of sustainable diets for all.
MS Bihunirwa said that the changing contexts of food systems were driving a quest for new ideas to meet the many challenges that people face. Particularly, she said that the 2006 Kabarole District Production and Environment Management Ordinance has been overtaken by events and needed to conform to the pressing need of the day, that of food and nutrition security.
The highly attended District Council comprised of KRC and Kabarole District Council, technocrats and stakeholders. It kick starts the processes of enhancing nutritional food security and increased agriculture production in Kabarole.
The District Chairperson’s full speech
The Vice Chairperson, Honorable Speaker, Members of the District Executive Committee, Chairpersons of standing committees of Council, Colleagues the District Councilors, Members of KRC Board, the staff Kabarole Research and Centre, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen.
I welcome all of you to this very important workshop, where we review the production and environmental ordinance 2006. I want to thank Kabarole Research and Resource for picking interest in this particular ordinance, for accepting to partner with us as a district council in its implementation and review, and for setting aside resources to facilitate this very crucial meeting, where as key stakeholders and monitors of this ordinance are coming together to see and work out a way forward as far as this ordinance is concerned. This meeting comes at a time when we are faced with a number of challenges, which I felt I should highlight as we open this meeting. One is the state of nutrition at household level, in the District and the region. Of late we have been implementing a programme called “multisectoral food security and nutrition programme. It’s a World Bank funded project, but this project comes in as a result of the findings of a study which was conducted and which puts the level of stuntedness in this region at 56 percent. Meaning that right from the household level, the district and region level, we have a challenge with nutrition issues. I am glad that later on today’s programme, I see where we are going to present about nutrition. Two things, we may not necessarily be food insecure, we have food and we produce a lot of it, but do we really eat this food? The eating habits are in such a way that at household level, the children and the families feed on leftovers! But the bulk of the food which is produced is sold off, and many times, the proceeds are not seen at the household. And therefore looking at the characteristics of our children especially those of school going age, you find that a number of them cannot catch up in class. We did get our definition here that stuntedness does not necessarily present only in physical growth, most people have grown physically but mentally they remain retarded. And therefore this production ordinancebecomes very pertinent but its enforcement so relevant in ensuring thatthe food that is produced at household level is consumed, the surplus is sold and not the other way round.
It is therefore a task of us as leaders, to carry this message to the population, the people we lead and we reason together, in as far as food security is concerned, as far as the physical and mental growth of our children is concerned and explain the relationship between nutrition, mental growth and academic performance.
Members, this year as a district, we witnessed the highest level of food insecurity. Actually, we want to appreciate our member of parliament of Burahya County, working with us, did raise donate food stuffs, in form of rice, posho and beans. It’s the first time in the history of this district we appeal to government to give us food relief. To me, this is an indicator; it’s something pointing to a situation gone wrong. And therefore, why are we food insecure in the presence of a production ordinance. Iwant to believe that at the end of this meeting, we shall have agreed on what to do to collectively. And it’s a time to point fingers of accusation, that who and who has not done their work; no and the answer is that we have done what we ought not to have done, and lets do what we ought to do as leaders.
The environmental aspect; and as we sit here this morning, someone is cutting a tree using a panga, hand axe, or may be a power-saw in this district. There is someone using a hoe to reclaim a wetland. This explains the dry spells we have experienced for the first half of this year. You and I are aware that from January to late June, and early July, we never had reasonable rains. If we ever have rains, they could not go beyond 15 minutes, but even those 15 minutes, when rain stops, you could get messages from places hit by deadly hailstones, that houses have been swept away. It’s the environment conservation against the weather patterns. We have witnessed severe weather changes, pointing to climate change, we have experienced high temperatures, all emanating from activities of environmental degradation, and therefore the life of the current generation as well as that of the next generation are at stake. With this production and environment management ordinance, how do enforce it to ensure how our environment is conserved.
I want to commend all of you honorable colleagues and the other partners especially the media, because you have worked with us to expose those who are degrading the environment,andtogether we have attempted with the Resident District Commissioner’s Office and Local Council III chairpersons, to sensitize, and where sensitization has not yielded, to use force to evict some people from these wetlands. But the implementation of this sometimes remains selective; some people are handled and others are not. The question is, “how do we utilize the production and environment management ordinance to work as an environmental safeguard and to secure the wasted lands, allow them regenerate, so that they become useful to us as citizens of this country. And this District Council has given us the mandate as duty bearers in the enforcement of all this.
In the same breathe Madam Speaker and honorable members seated here, is the is the issue of the economic factor; because this production and environment ordinance, does not talk about the enforcement of these others, food and nutrition security and the rest; without having people who are not prosperous, and this is the mission of this district, “a beautiful district with harmonious and prosperous people”. That’s the mission of our district. But what are we producing at household level? When we had NAADs here, you would see a lot of enthusiasm, about food production for home consumption but also commercial production. Of late, what do we see in our villages? In the first quarter, from the last financial year, as the executive committee, we walked around the district to see what was going on. And for every meeting that we held, we would identify a decline in food production. At least at executive level, we are thinking of promoting a model of “one village, one product”, and courting KRC to work with us. Going back to your village, what is your village known for, to produce. Honorable colleagues, we are all seated here, if I asked what our villages are known to produce, we would mention, every crop and every animal. Can we realign our communities towards something that becomes their trademark, so that we attach an economic value to our villages?Therefore when we think of possible amendments to the ordinance, this is something we could look at; one village-one product. What is it that our villages, parishes or sub counties are known to produce? Let our areas be defined and described by what they produce and it’s of economic value. And this w cannot achieve alone without the serious support of the technical staff. We have the Chief Administrative Officer, the production and marketing department, the in-charges of crop and livestock, fisheries, forestry, and extension staff out there. How do we work with this team in enforcement of this ordinance? Mention the sub county chiefs, parish chiefs, together with the ward agents who are posted in these particular areas. Therefore this one calls for concerted efforts. This is our district, people have given us an opportunity to lead them for the time we are here, let’s work towards giving something which can benefit the people as far as their livelihoods are concerned, and as far their household incomes are concerned. This has been a dream of our time. And as the NRM government thinks about pushing this country into a middle income status by 2020, how does this production and environment ordinance help propel our people to work towards developing their county into a middle income economy. It’s my sincere belief and hope that by the end of this day’s workshop, and the several presentations about the review of this ordinance, we shall come up with concrete plans that we shall implement together to implement the ordinance and to improve the livelihoods of the people of this district.
I thank KRC once again for finding time and resources to facilitate this process, and I want to pledge on behalf of the Local Government that we shall work with you to ensure that the outcomes of this meeting is turned into actions that are going to change the lives of our people. May I take this opportunity therefore, to declare this workshop officially opened.