Food or the availability of food in Africa is something I write about a great deal on this blog– but when I learned that this year’s topic is FOOD I wondered what I could possibly write about this topic that I haven’t already written about?
The organisers put forward some suggestions including writing about one’s favourite foods. I love food and choosing a favourite food is a tall order but if I had to choose a staple or something I could eat daily and not complain it would be a combination of BBQ or Grilled chicken and a garden salad or Tilapia cooked in any form, mangoes and Avocados.
Back to today’s task though I would like you to help me answer the question
WHAT ARE THE POOR DOING TO SECURE FOOD?
You might wonder whether this is even possible and you would be right, for the odds are stacked against the poor when it comes to food. The poor pay more for food the land on which they are meant to grow their food is being taken away from them and sold to the rich and if that is not enough land is also taken to provide alternative fuel for the rich because they are guilty about polluting the environment.
The UN has set a goal to end extreme hunger surely it is not up to the poor to secure their own food, is it? I would answer this with another. What does this mean in reality? Does the UN hand out food to the poor?
Yes but the food that is meant for the poor does not always get to them
If you have read this far and are thinking this is depressing don’t go just yet
Please allow me to introduce you to James.
I met James in November last year at the Villages in Action conference in Masindi Uganda James – owns the only Grain Mill and bicycle repair shop called TUYAMBAGANE GRAIN MILLERS- literary translated it means LET US HELP EACH OTHER
James is an older man possibly 60 years old and very easy to like and he provides two very vital services to his community. Grain milling- James says that he and his family started this business in 2004 as they wanted something that could bring them a daily income. He explained that the business name was deliberate and reflects the relationship between his service and the village – he provides a service to the village and in turn that brings him income. The impact of this business on the village is easy to dismss until you take a closer look.
James’ service enables folk in the village without electricity or factories to preserve food for leaner times the easiest way to preserve food is turn into flour which is easy to store. The grain miller facility is very simple and is located in what we in the west would consider a shed but has far reaching consequences for those that rely on it. For you see whilst here in the West food wastage occurs between the supermarket and fridge in villages such as James’ food wastage occurs between the garden and the kitchen- another reason why the poor can’t secure their food
Here is James helping prepare the ground the day before the conference
At the day of the conference James shared his story with the world. he was part of the village business panel and here he is (seated in the middle) with his fellow panellists
This is the shed that houses James’ grain mill
and here is sneak preview on how things work inside the Grain mill
Bicycle repairing- bicycles are the most common means of personal transport in Kikuube and as any means of transport the bicycles do break down and need repairing. I asked James the significance of bicycle ownership in the village. http://youtu.be/5t_bNWC7ov4
It enables farmers to get their produce to market without bicycles it would be near impossible as the market is a long a way away nearly half a day’s walk
So as you can see it is not all doom and gloom out there. Please join the conversation. help me answer the question I started out with- what can the poor doing to secure food? Is there anything they can realistically do?