By Prossy Nandudu
GOVERNMENT has been asked to review the Social Protection Policy to include vulnerable groups like the youth in agriculture production who lack financial support.
The policy that was formulated recently was aimed at coordinating and implementing relevant social protection interventions such as supporting the less privileged to access financial services.
However the policy doesn’t prioritize agriculture, food and nutrition security but emphasizes income security which is being given directly to vulnerable groups in need.
This is according to the country representative of the Food and Agriculture Sector, Alhaji Jallow.
“We urge government to extend the social protection program to youth in agriculture through cash transfers however small they may be. It helps in protecting their families from hunger at the same time increasing agriculture production,” said Jallow at the Food and Agriculture Festival held in Lugogo.
Jallow said that cash transfers however small can make a big difference in the lives of the youths by protecting them from risks and encouraging them to pursue high return activities that could feed their homes and regional neighbours.
Jallow said that much as Uganda is rich in diverse forms, production of food is constrained by factors that are being accelerated by climate change.
This has been coupled with limited access to affordable insurance leading to the adoption of survival instincts for low risk, low return agricultural and other income generating activities.
“This locks them in a vicious cycle of distress sale of productive assets, reduction in the frequency and quality of food consumption, exploiting natural resources in an unsustainable manner which reduces investment in the education and health of family members,” Jallow added.
Moses Dombo the chief of party, Advocacy for Better Health Project, added that production of food should be accompanied by efforts to reduce malnutrition in the country.
He said that in Uganda, the current rates of malnutrition are worrying, and these account for 33% stunting, 5% wasting and 14% underweight according to the Uganda Demographic Household Survey (UDHS of 2011)
The main causes of malnutrition range from policies to inadequate dietary intake caused by household food insecurity and poor access to a range of essential items for diversified diets among others
“Government should scale up the nutrition interventions in all sectors including health, education, agriculture to address the above challenges,” said Dombo.