Nutrition-related COVID-19 Advisory to Farmers and the General Public

Kampala, 28th March 2020. In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja the Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has addressed the public through the Media at the Uganda Media Centre.

Below is an excerpt of the official Statement for reference:

1.1 Fellow Ugandans, farmers and the general public, as you are aware, the entire World including our Country is battling the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) that has claimed many lives and also caused a lot of anxiety among the population.

1.2 We in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) join H.E The President of the Republic of Uganda and our colleagues in other sectors especially the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

1.3 Following the Presidential Directives and the Ministry of Health guidelines on COVID-19 pandemic, we wish to advise the farming communities and the general public on the Agricultural and Nutrition activities that should be undertaken during the period of the Directives.

1.4 The COVID-19 Pandemic has unfortunately coincided with the beginning of the first cropping season of the Year 2020 and this is likely to affect Agricultural activities, particularly food production.

1.5 In spite of this pandemic, Agricultural activities need to continue but with strict adherence to the Directives and the Ministry of Health guidelines.

1.6 The purpose of this message is to appeal to the farming communities and the general public to take advantage of the current rains to plant and manage crops, look after livestock and fisheries to ensure food, nutrition security and income during and after the pandemic.

2.0. Messages to Farmers and the General Public
2.1 While observing the Presidential Directives and Ministry of Health guidelines especially on mass gatherings, farmers should prepare their gardens and plant crops in order not to miss this season.

2.2 Farmers and the general public are encouraged to produce and consume a balanced diet derived from Crops, Animals and Fisheries’ Resources.

2.3 In order to boost people’s immunity to fight against diseases, COVID-19 Inclusive, farmers are encouraged to grow a variety of food crops to diversify their diets.

2.4 Farmers and the general public are encouraged to grow and consume Horticultural fruit crops such as; Citrus (Oranges, Lemons, Lime, Tangerine, Grapes); Mangoes; Pineapples; Passion fruits; Water Melon and Guavas, that are rich in Vitamins and Minerals (Phyto nutrients) and which play a big role in boosting body immunity.

2.5 Similarly, Vegetable crops including; Carrots, Tomatoes, Onions, Cabbages, Green Pepper, leafy vegetables (Amaranthus/Ddodo, Buga, Nakati, African Night Shade/Ensuugga/ Enswiga, Ggobe, Jobbiyo/Akeyo, Malakwang, Bboo/Eboo) should be eaten in combination because they are also rich in Vitamins and Minerals.

2.6 Farmers and the general public are further encouraged to grow and consume Bio-fortified nutrient dense crops such as the Vitamin A Rich Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes (NASPOT 8, NASPOT 12, NASPOT 13; Iron/Zinc Rich Beans (NARO Bean 1, NARO Bean 2, NARO Bean 3, NARO Bean 4C and NARO Bean 5C).

2.7 Seed/Planting materials for the recommended crops can be obtained from National Agricultural Research Organizations (NARO), Registered seed Companies and Certified Nursery Operators.

2.8 To obtain maximum benefits from consuming nutritious foods, there is need to observe the following Hygienic practices in handling, preparing and processing the meals:
i. Use clean and safe water.
ii. Wash hands with soap.
iii. Avoid placing the food stuffs on bare ground and dirty surfaces
iv. Use clean stores and Utensils.

3.0 Appeal:
3.1 I wish to appeal to the general public to comply with H.E The President’s Directives and to strictly adhere to the Ministry of Health Guidelines on COVID-19 pandemic.

3.2 I also Appeal to Agricultural Extension Officers to continuously provide guidance to the farming communities.

3.3 I encourage farmers to continue with Agricultural production and to always seek the necessary advice from technical Officers.

3.4 For further information, the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries will always remain open for the necessary technical support.

Video Message to Farmer Groups and Cooperatives