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“My Food is Africa” campaign kicks off drive for policy change on indigenous foods

Players in the field of agroecology from over a dozen African countries have been meeting in Entebbe this week to launch a new phase of a campaign aimed at promoting the production and consumption of African indigenous food

Participants during the AFSA meeting at the Country Lake Resort

The stakeholders met at Country Lake Resort Garuga to, among others, design a strategy for the implementation of the Transforming the African Food System to Sustainability campaign, also known as “My Food is African."

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Over the next three years, according to Charles Olweny Mulozi, the Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator at AFSA, the campaign will focus on mass mobilization of African citizens “to demand policy reforms that promote production of healthy and culturally appropriate foods.”

The other aspect of the campaign entails engaging directly with the governments and policymakers to push for agroecological-friendly policies.

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We need our governments to promote mass production of indigenous foods because once that happens, it will first of all save our environment (from the toxic agricultural chemicals),” he said.

Then it will greatly boost our agricultural exports because currently, we cannot compete with North America or Europe if we are exporting GMO foods.”

The “My Food is African” campaign is being implemented in 9 African countries by the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA)

In Uganda, the campaign is implemented by Pelum Uganda which is part of the AFSA network.

Josephine Akia Luyimbazi, the Pelum Uganda Country Coordinator highlighted Uganda’s urgent need to revert to the production and consumption of indigenous foods.

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"We are seeing in our youths that there is a preference for fast foods and processed foods and shunning our indigenous foods. So this campaign came in to promote consumption of our indigenous foods that we know are nutritious in value, safe and culturally grown.”

Pelum Uganda, she said, will under the campaign, intensify what they are already doing around consumer awareness, through campaigns like “Know What You Eat,” which is sensitizing the public on the benefits of indigenous foods.

The organization is also working on the national agroecology strategy which focuses on full-blast production of local foods, as well as giving input into the National Organic Agriculture Bill that will enable implementation of the policy.

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On his part, Million Belay, the AFSA General Coordinator, warned that Africa is losing time given the current rate at which its environment and people are being exposed to dangerous industrial agriculture.

We are staring at a hunger crisis, severe malnutrition, Non-Communicable Diseases and the climate impact. That is why we have to start now to discuss the kind of food system that Africa needs,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Ayele Kabede the Program Manager Regional Development Cooperation Africa, Environment, Climate and Energy at Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) said the campaign across the 9 African countries will push for developing an all-inclusive food system framework.

The teams will also develop case studies in 6 African countries to support the advocacy and campaigning work.

We are trying to get the attention of the policymakers and the general public on where we stand and where we are headed. Are we giving the required consideration to the local foods that we consume? Are we aware how far we have gone in losing our culture embedded in the preparation and consumption of our food?” he said.

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