Call for revival of traditional foods dominates world food day event

Call for revival of traditional foods dominates world food day event
Traditional African leafy vegetables have advantages over exotic vegetable species that currently dominate our supermarket shelves. Courtesy Photo.

The call for revival of traditional foods dominated the World Food Day celebrations in Kabarole district on Monday.

The celebrations which were held in Fort Portal were organised by Hivos, Kabarole Research and Resource Centre and Kabarole district local government under the theme, ‘Reviving the production and consumption of traditional and indigenous food varieties for better health, food security and rural development’.

Local leaders and residents who attended the event noted that most of the traditional food varieties and delicacies such as yams, mushrooms, cassava, sweet potatoes, millet have disappeared from the menu and given rise to western type of food which has affected nutrition.

Rev. Willy Kintu Muhanga, the Mayor Fort Portal Municipality, said that in the past, the traditional food crops played a role in enhancing food security in homes. He noted that Tooro region is endowed with the traditional foods, but they are not consumed.

“The traditional foods should always be on the menu in homes. We should not abandon them because they are nutritious,” Muhanga said.

Charles Mugisa, the chairperson Kabarole District Farmers Association, said that apart from improving food security, traditional foods brought unity in the community since they were consumed communally.

He also said that the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill 2012 that is before Parliament should not be passed because it is a threat to the traditional foods.

Aggrey Gwaita, a dietitian at Fort Portal Referral Hospital, said that traditional foods are safe and nutritious to the consumers. He explains that there is limited access to information on the importance of nutritious foods, which could be one of the reasons, why cases of malnutrition are high in the district.

Last month, Kabarole district health department released a report which indicated that 45 percent of the children in the district under the age of seven years are malnourished.

During the celebrations, food varieties from different cultures in the Eastern, Western and Northern parts of the country were displayed. A nutrition clinic was also set up to create awareness, education, and measurement of weight and height.

Five food ambassadors were also appointed to promote the growing and consumption of traditional foods. Among them is Richard Rwabuhinga, the Kabarole District Chairperson, Herbert Mugisa, the LC3 Chairperson South Division and Mayor Willy Kintu Muhanga.

The World Food Day which is observed annually is aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of agriculture and to ensure there is sufficient food available for everyone worldwide.