Focus Food, Nutrition Security in Schools- Dr Kabahenda

Participants at EPRC forum on food and nutrition security

Any efforts intended to prioritize food and nutrition security must been focused in schools that have the highest concentration of children who are still growing. This is according to Dr Margaret Kabahenda, from the department of food technology and nutrition at Makerere University’s College of Agriculture and Environment.

Dr Kabahenda, who was making a presentation at the Economic Policy Research Centre- EPRC’s forum on food and nutrition security in Kampala today, said schools have children who are vulnerable to malnutrition and they must be prioritized in whichever programs that promote food and nutrition security.

She said children whether are at school or at home, they use a lot of energy when playing or doing activities. To ensure that the children are safe when it comes to food and nutrition, Dr Kabahenda believes, policies and programs must look at the time the learners spend at school and what kind of meals do they get.

“What can we do to improve school feeding of young children who are still growing and more vulnerable to malnutrition? The young children still need much food, more calories, and more nutrients than adults. Remembers they are being served. They are there to be served; but by who,” Dr Kabahenda said.

EPRC’s forum on food and nutrition was organised under the theme prioritizing gender in food and nutrition security amidst climate change risks in Uganda and it attracted food and technology scientists, environmental experts and climate activists as well as politicians.

Lawrence Bategeka, the former parliamentary chairperson of committee on national economy, listed a number of factors that have globally been cited as responsible for climate change among others carbon dioxide emissions, and trees cut for firewood or charcoal.

Bategeka said the climate changes have affected food growth in various parts of the country thus leading to escalation of food prices. For the last part of this year, many Ugandans have been finding it difficult to afford a plate of food because prices for all essential and previously affordable foods almost like maize flour or rice have doubled.

“We are moving from the point of harvesting from nature to hunger. Malnutrition is more in rural areas compared in urban areas. The fruits, the yams that were abundant in the rural areas have reduced. Youth have resorted to paid for work. They have abandoned the villages. Majority of women and children are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. The weather conditions have changed,” Bategeka said.

Kabahenda said food and nutrition security amidst the changing climate should be addressed by ensuring that the existing policies are implemented. Kabahenda said Uganda’s problems is planning and planning that is never implemented.

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