KABAROLE —Government should endeavour to promote the growth and consumption of indigenous food crops if the country is to have a healthy population, agricultural experts have said.
Speaking during the Rwenzori Regional Indigenous Food and Seed Fair that was organized by Sustainable Agriculture Trainers Network (SATNET) in Fort Portal, Kabarole District on Thursday, experts said government and private companies are promoting western foods, which are genetically modified hence less nutritious compared to traditional foods.
Mr Joseph Mate, an agricultural expert from SATNET, explained that indigenous foods even fetch more money due to their high demand, which implies that farmers growing them can be assured of more income.
Charles Tumuhe, an agricultural researcher from African Rural University in Kagadi District, added that indigenous foods are disease-resistant and do not need a lot of money to grow when compared to exotic foods.
They listed traditional food varieties and delicacies as yams, mushrooms, cassava, sweet potatoes and millet.
Tumuhe also explained that the indigenous crops ensure protection of the soil since they don’t require artificial fertilizers and chemicals.
Dennis Baijuka, a farmer from Kagadi says indigenous food crops require less labour and have ready market, a reason he is abandoning the genetically modified ones.
Teddy Namazzi, a nursing officer from the Nutrition Department of Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, says that more people are suffering from a number of diseases like diabetes and hypertension because of exotic foods which lack nutrients.
Tumuhe says that university plans to document all local food crops that are under the threat of extinction for preservation.