President Yoweri Museveni has called on Ugandans to increase their food intake as a way of expanding the market for the food that is being produced in excess in the country.
Museveni said on Sunday, that Uganda would not be having surplus food as it is today, if citizens were consuming at the level they should be.
“We are under-consuming,” said Museveni while speaking at the commemoration of the 34th anniversary of the NRM government in Ibanda district.
“We now have surplus maize, surplus bananas, surplus milk and other industrial products like cement and steel.”
The president noted for instance that out of the 2.5 billion liters of milk produced annually, Ugandans consume only 800milion liters, leaving a surplus of 1.7billion.
But if Ugandans were consuming the medically recommended amount of milk, he says, the demand would be in excess of 8billion liters annually.
“Now you are saying there is too much milk; but this is not exactly so, because in 1986, the consumption of milk was 18 liters per person per year. Now it is 60 liters per person per year,” he said.
“But the World Health Organization recommends that in order to support your bones and keep teeth in your mouth, you need to drink 210 liters per person per annum.”
“If everyone was drinking 210 liters as advised by the doctors, we would need 8.8billion liters a year. The 2.2 billion liters now looks like a lot but it would be nothing.”
Besides, Museveni added, under consumption affects Ugandans themselves in the long run.
“You need to consume more in terms of milk, grains and proteins. You should stop living a half-life because this life of inadequacy affects us in the end.”
“In 1960 life expectancy was 40.8 years. In 1986 when we came it was 43 years and now it is 63 years. But the Japanese die at 79! When I go of burials here, you hear the priests say that God has called him. But why does God call only the Africans?
Museveni blamed the under consumption by Ugandans on the failure to transition from subsistence farming to commercial farming.
“Some of the people are not drinking the milk because they don’t have the money to buy it,” he said.
“But that is because they are only working for the stomach. If they were working for the stomach and the money, they’d have money to buy what they don’t produce.”
The president however, reassured that his government will continue to look for markets for locally produced food, in both the regional and continental markets