The Honorable Minister, we write from the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) to first of all, thank you and the Government of Uganda for all the tireless efforts undertaken to manage the COVID 19 pandemic. Uganda is undoubtedly one of the countries that took swift measures to protect its citizens as soon as news about the pandemic broke out. One of the most efficient measures was closing schools, protecting our children from contracting the deadly virus and ordering for a total lockdown.

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Proper nutrition and hydration are vital. People who eat a well-balanced diet tend to be healthier with stronger immune systems and lower risk of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases. So you should eat a variety of fresh and unprocessed foods every day to get the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants your body needs. Drink enough water. Avoid sugar, fat and salt to significantly lower your risk of overweight, obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

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“…….Thanks to CEFROHT and AVAAZ foundation; I do not have to worry about food for this month, and this will certainly help me rebound back to independently feed my family…….” Monica-Mukono district

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Demand for food reserves, restriction of marketing of unhealthy foods and food safety in uganda

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With support from AVAAZ FOUNDATION, CEFROHT has offered community food emergence support to almost 5000 families who have gravely been disrupted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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The government has a constitutional obligation to establish national food reserves under Objective XXII (b) of the 1995 constitution. This  duty helps to guarantee food security, mitigates hunger, prevents malnutrition and ensures that everyone enjoys the right to livelihood.  COVID 19 pandemic has worsened malnutrition and related deaths in Uganda. Food reserves would have therefore been a critical tool in realising food security especially in times of unforeseen economic hardships or natural calamities like the COVID 19 pandemic.

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Background

The COVID 19 pandemic is wreaking havoc across the globe. The crisis is detrimentally affecting all civil, political, economic, social, cultural, and developmental rights. In Uganda, the government put up measures to prevent the spread of this virus and one of the key elements was a lockdown to control congestion in public places and temporary closing some offices and businesses.
Many people have bought and are keeping food to take them and their families through this pandemic. They buy food with long shelf life from shops. It should be noted that there is no mechanism of tracing for food in Uganda.
Government has also adopted the centralized mechanism of distributing food to the vulnerable population in the districts of Wakiso and Kampala which comprise of many urban dwellers that depend on a daily income to survive.
In a bid to support this effort and to assist this good cause, many corporate bodies, industries, companies and individuals offered food items to the National Task Force majorly consisting of maize flour and beans.

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Introduction

Uganda is currently on lockdown due to the COVID-19 global pandemic which has had devastating effects including loss of lives across the world.  In response to the global pandemic, the government of Uganda put directives to stop social gatherings of all kinds including public transport and all services except essentials were closed. All towns and villages are on lockdown. This has led to the disruption of the social order including access to medicines and all services including food.

The government made a plan to supply food relief for the Central business district people and refused to cover other vulnerable communities who were working from hand to mouth in other districts. However, the plan has not been fully implemented up-to-date and yet people who were hand to mouth earners across the country have started starving.

Before COVID-19, 38% of children under the age of 5 were malnourished and this percentage is expected to have increased because parents do not have food to feed their children.

Before COVID-19, more than 30 percent of the total population faced some level of chronic food insecurity. The causes of food insecurity in Uganda are multifaceted, often a result of poverty, landlessness, high fertility, natural disasters, high food prices, lack of education, and the fact that a majority of Ugandans depend on agriculture as a main source of income. This has tripled in the past three months because of the lockdown due to the global pandemic and also the changes in weather conditions of Uganda.

It is on that note that CEFROHT decided to reach out to the vulnerable people in its community and supply them with some food items. We introduced a communication line where the people in need of food assistance especially the vulnerable people call, get their details, and then deliver food to their doorstep using our delivery services.

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