Oyam: Men exchanging food with alcohol as famine bites

By Williams Moi

Some Ugandans are said to be exchanging family food with locally manufactured potent gin, the waragi.

Despite over production of children, resulting into overpopulation, some Ugandans do not have silos (food store) to wait for any disaster, but most of them exchange harvested food from their gardens with drinks.

Local waragi is made up of cassava, others using banana but after distilling it on fire.

It has no food value but most citizens especially in Oyam district love to drink crude waragi the most. It also makes them drunk and behave in a queer manner in public.

The waragi also has diverse effects in families and also affects human body, according to Ministry of Health Report.

According to Uganda Bureau of Standards (UBOS STATISTICS) show that the average production of children per woman in a family is 8.

But this could rise.When it comes to feeding, getting quality food would be acute in families or homes. “There will be acute shortage of food for home consumption or feeding the crowded family”, a report released years back indicates.

In northern Uganda entirely, shortage or lack of food is also characterized by extreme weather which destroy crops before they are harvested or stored becaue of climatic change occurring every year and getting people unaware at times, not ready with reserved food to avert hunger during disaster.

‘’I come from Oyam district where people produce food in subsistence quantity but later, mostly men prefer selling off for drinking waragi not bearing in mind the burden mothers bear in the kitchen due to lack of food. Some of them exchange food with the locally made drink for leisure. In some homes children suffer the dire consequences due to poor management of food,’’ Okello George, a resident said.

By selling food, this means that a few people benefit from the sales. The men in turn bully their women of their cash and drink it off, claiming that they are leaders of their homes.

In Oyam district again, after growing food together as husbands and wifves, during harvesting, men grab food from women and take charge of it.

Whenever they sell off their food they leave the house with real hunger. In this way, some men fight their wives domestically, causing a lot of stress in families.

For example cassava produced is mainly used for distilling waragi but not reserved for food.

“Apart from cassava, millet is also used for making alcohol including sorghum. Instead of grinding and storing as flour or corn or grain for future use in families,” Moi, our correspondent says.

Even maize is used in the making of alcohol brew. The kind of behavior which shows wastage of food instead of storing it.

“In Apedi number three village, in LORO sub county, people sell food for money instead of storage”, says Akello Brenda, a peasant farmer.

In fact food sustainability is uncertain in some homes in Northern Uganda. Only a few homes keep food for the future use.

Even on government side, there are no silos for the district storage of food except some National Silos found in Jinja district in Eastern Uganda but, are unlikely to store food enough for all Ugandans.

Therefore, not all the people can benefit from enough food under the planet unless production is increased, wastage controlled and sales banned.

There are certain places in Uganda such as Karamoja region where land is dry and lacks rain always and can’t grow much better food for humans living there without irrigation measures.

Their life is at stake due to arid region

Climate change remains a big challenge in Uganda in which whether pattern is unpredictable and harshly keeps on changing thus affecting food sustainability, security for everyone; the nation as a whole and globally.

For Uganda, the population is about 38 million people who depend on agriculture for food but remains tongue- tied due to poor whether focus.

By eating only one kind of food one might get obesed.

“Instead of eating food, some people make mostly animal feeds and chicken feeds not caring about human beings. When wood lot is cut down it causes environmental impact because the carbon is no longer remitted in the atmosphere and crops die causing food insecurity, and not sustainability,” Dr. Otim James, an agricultural researcher in Uganda said.

Okello Bonny, a peasant of Adigo village says food sustainability is important for every one every month because food is for life. If not stored they may also lack from the open market.

Selly Auma, a house wife says there should be a by- law banning men from selling food and to sensitize them about storing it for a longer periods.

According to agricultural production officer, Loro sub county in Oyam district Uganda, Tom Atim, he says government is doing everything possible to provide seedlings, materials as agricultural inputs to the local people so that they increase food production for self sustainability now and in future.

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