'Five Million Citizens Malnourished', but aquaculture could help

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
11 October 2007, at 1:00am

UGANDA - About five million people in Uganda are malnourished, according to the agriculture ministry. Okaasi Opolot, the commissioner for production and marketing, said most of them live in the rural areas and should be encouraged to take on aquaculture.

About 7.75 million in the countryside face food insecurity. Briefing journalists about the World Food Day preparations, Opolot said another four million of the rural population were moderately vulnerable to food insecurity.

Chronic malnutrition among children is widespread in Uganda, he added. "Stunting affects a third of the children in rural areas."

Okaasi appealed to Ugandans to embrace the Government programmes aimed at eradicating poverty through increased agricultural production and productivity to ensure food security and increased household incomes.

He repeated the Government's commitment to the bonna baggaggawale (Prosperity-for-All) programme aimed at increasing farmers income by transforming the peasant households from primitive, unplanned production methods to commercial production.

Okaasi announced that the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had mobilised $891,000 (about sh1.6b) for the purchase of improved early maturing sweet potato vines, cassava cuttings, cow peas and agricultural implements in the north and eastern flood-hit parts of the country.

He encouraged Ugandans to take on aquaculture (fish growing) to avoid eating fish skeletons, which are rejected by fish factories.

He blamed the drop in fish stocks in Uganda's lakes and rivers to the introduction of bigger species, which eat others as well as encroachment on the wetlands.

"Let every Ugandan grow fish and we shall not complain again about eating fish bones, he advised.