The second edition of the annual East African food security symposium and expo is set for next month, organisers have said.
Addressing journalists on Friday, Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director of Climate Change Action East Africa said the symposium and expo will be held between October, 19 and 21 at Makerere University Business School, Nakawa Campus.
He said the expo will focus on discussing and finding ways to avert the impact of climate change on food security in East Africa.
“Climate change poses a significant threat to agricultural productivity and food availability in the country, affecting the livelihoods of millions of Ugandans especially the small holder farmers, mostly women who constitute the backbone of the country’s food production,” Dr.Okurut said.
“A changing climate manifested in changing rainfall patterns, prolonged and severe dry spells, coupled with increased disasters, is disrupting the agricultural systems in Uganda and hampering overall development of the country. Erratic weather conditions continue to make it challenging to predict planting and harvesting times, leading to reduced crop yields hence food insecurity.”
He said this year particularly, Uganda is likely to be severely affected by the impacts of the El Nino phenomenon especially floods hazards, hail storms and landslides which will destroy farmers gardens, road infrastructure, crop and livestock markets, making it impossible for any efforts to improve farmer livelihoods.
“Irreversible losses and damages will negatively impact small holder farmers to the extent of complete decimation and cause massive rural-urban migration. Moreover, the government response is not matching the needs of small holder farmers in addressing these pressing challenges.”
According to Eng. Stephen Lwalanda a food security expert, it is high time the looming crisis is averted.
“We must move away from boardrooms to the real field and demonstrate action to the population. Collective action from individuals, community, national and international actors is what is required to respond to this existential threat of climate change.”
Dr.Okurut said this will be a point of discussion during the symposium and expo as experts and stakeholders brainstorm on how to avert a looming crisis on food security caused by climate change.
“The symposium will see opportunities for members of the public, experts and academia to present research, information papers, exhibit technologies and products, interact with potential clients, and get new funding opportunities. The event brings enormous opportunities for participants such as exposure and networking, building new markets for their products, advancing practical policy solutions, exchanging experiences and learning about new climate relevant technologies, and accessing a big communication’s platform.”