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Ugandans eating less food per person every year

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The consumption of food per person per year in Uganda declined between the period 2013 and 2019, a Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) report notes.

According to the ‘food balance sheets report’ data, food availability from starchy roots was initially estimated at an annual per capita averaging 120.7 kg for the period between 2013-2019. The fruits were at 103.2 kg, cereals at 77.8 kg and alcohol at 70.7 kg. However, there was a decline in starchy roots food availability since 2013 from 130.5 kg to 100.9 kg in 2020, mainly due to the reduction of the production of sweet potatoes and the increase of the export of cassava over the period between 2013 to 2019.

Also, the food availability from cereal products dropped in 2016 and 2018 due to the drop in the production of maize (-11%) and millet (-9%), and the increase in the exports for both maize and sorghum of 33% and 39 % respectively from 2017 to 2018.

Patrick Okello, director Agriculture & Environment Statistics says this resulted into a general drop in the dietary energy supply (DES) in terms of kilo calories per person per year of vegetal (plant) products and animal products between 2013 to 2019 at 2,179 to 1932 and 157 to 151 respectively.

Even the alcohol drunk has fallen from 74.8 kg in 2013 to 60.3 in 2019. 2014 was a freak year when alcohol consumption peaked at 80.2 kg per person. That year food prices on average rose by 0.6% while alcohol average price rose by 0.3%.

The only increase registered in plant and animal products consumption was registered among vegetable oil plants from 9.2 to 11 between 2013 and 2019 and fish and fish products from 10.4 kilograms to 11 kilograms.

The year 2014 had the highest dietary energy supply-DES while 2018 had the least with 2386 average total of vegetal and animal products consumed per person and 2083 respectively. The overall contribution of dietary energy supply-DES was at 93% from vegetal products compared to 7% of animal products including fish.

In 2013-2019, the cereals (30.2%) were the main contributor to dietary energy supply-DES per capita. They were followed by starchy roots, vegetable oils and fruits.

But Prof. Joyce Kikafunda, a food and nutrition specialist says there has to be a balance between plant and animal foods dieting to get energy and nutrition.

She says Ugandans should learn to balance food in order to avert food insecurity.

This is manifested in 25% of Uganda’s 43 million people malnourished of which, 30 % of children in Uganda are stunted.

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