ESAFF Uganda marks World Food Day with a call to enhance investment in the preservation of water resources

ESAFF Uganda marks World Food Day with a call to enhance investment in the preservation of water resources
During a press conference at ESAFF offices in Ntinda on Monday

World Food Day annually falls on 16th October, this year as the world commemorates it, the Eastern and Southern Africa Small-scale Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF) Uganda) joins the celebration with a call to advocate for increased funding for the protection and preservation of water resources and agroecological practices that conserve water resources. 

This year the global event focuses on raising awareness about the importance of food security and eliminating hunger, emphasizing the fundamental role that water plays in our ability to nourish the world's growing population.

This year's World Food Day theme is; “Water is Life. Water is Food”

While addressing the media on Monday 16th October 2023, The Chairman ESAFF Baliraine Hakim said that there are limited water sources available to provide clean drinking water to the entire population while surface water sources are often highly polluted, and infrastructure to pipe water from fresh, clean sources to arid areas is too costly.

He said there is a need to promote agroecology farming that will both protect the environment and soil to sustain high productivity and production.

“Smallholder farmers struggle to invest in their farms and improve their productivity without adequate financing. Many small-scale farmers often suffer from poor infrastructure as most live in rural areas with poor infrastructure, including inadequate roads and limited access to water for agricultural production. Through agroecology, we are able to produce sustainably while protecting soil and the environment essential to maintaining biodiversity because we frequently cultivate a variety of crops, which helps to preserve genetic diversity and offer protection against crop failure” he said

The Chairman ESAFF Baliraine Hakim (R) giving his remarks 

He added that small-scale farmers, frequently employ more environmentally friendly farming techniques like crop rotation and organic pest control, which can help maintain the health of the soil and lower the need for hazardous pesticides and fertilizers.

He urged the government should prioritize and protect our water resources, ensuring they are used wisely and equitably to feed a growing world population, promote access to water for agricultural production so as to increase their production and profitability to provide food for future generations, subsidize the small irrigation system powered by solar to make it affordable for all farmers among other recommendations.

Agriculture accounts for approximately 70% of global freshwater withdrawals. Efficient water management is imperative for sustainable and equitable food production. The World Food Day commemoration comes just a day after the International Day for Rural Women, commemorated under the theme “Digit ALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality”

ESAFF Uganda is the largest small-scale farmer-led advocacy movement in Uganda, formed in 2002 to facilitate processes through which small-scale farmers’ development concerns can be solicited, articulated, and ultimately addressed through policies and programs.

ESAFF Uganda currently has a membership in 54 districts. ESAFF Uganda is also part of a bigger network of small-scale farmers in the other 15 countries in eastern and southern Africa.