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Calls to integrate the right to food in Uganda’s food System transformation agenda


Uganda takes stock of progress towards the implementation of the right to food

Rome/Kampala – “Every man, woman, and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition to develop fully and maintain their physical and mental faculties”. This was the key message heard across the Second National Conference on the Human Right to Adequate Food held in the Makerere University of Kampala, Uganda from 18-19 April 2023.

20 years after the first conference, this event concentrated on using the human right to adequate food to harness inclusivity in Uganda's strategy for transforming its food systems, ensuring that no one is left behind. The conference attracted international and national experts on the right to food and locals from the most vulnerable districts.

In his opening remarks, Gabriel Ferrero de Loma Osorio, the Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security and Spain Ambassador At Large for Global Food Security emphasised that the right to adequate food can no longer be just a progressive aspiration but is an urgent, concrete and achievable time-bound goal for all governments to meet for all people. He suggested several actions governments could take to transform agri-food systems to fully realise the right to food, including country-driven and rights-based solutions, responsible investments in agriculture, innovative approaches to sustainable production and educating and empowering citizens to claim their rights safely.

Kyakulaga Fred Bwino, the State Minister for Agriculture addressing the conference, said that “failure to provide safe and adequate food to our citizens is a violation of their human rights”. The Minister called the participants to identify the gaps in the country’s efforts and propose game-changing solutions that can address the question of the human right to adequate food for all Ugandans.

The absence of a law to govern food and nutrition was one of the gaps identified by the conference. Crispin Kaheru, a member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) noted that the Draft Food and Nutrition Bill of 2009 has never been enacted into law and urged the government to expedite this process to facilitate food safety, food security and availability of nutritious foods for all.

“FAO celebrates Uganda’s efforts towards the realisation of the right to adequate food for all and is heartened by the fact that Uganda’s constitution explicitly recognises the right to adequate food” said Alejandro Grinspun, FAO Head of the Right to Food Unit, during his intervention at the conference. He offered FAO support to bring the draft bill on Food and Nutrition of 2009 to the parliamentary floor.

The conversations at the conference evolved around actions towards strengthening the enabling environment, inclusivity and accountability for the human right to adequate food in Uganda.

FAO’s Deputy Representative Priya Gujadhur noted the potential of the Uganda Parliamentary Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security in advancing the country's agrifood systems transformation that, together with civil society organizations, could be instrumental in supporting legislation that prioritises areas related to access to healthy and safe food for all.

Speaking on inclusivity, Nargis Bozorova, the FAO Legal Officer from the Development Law Service, highlighted  the Right to Food Guidelines and their call to consider the special needs of women, children, the poor, the marginalised, and the most vulnerable in the development of policies, strategies, and legal frameworks. She highlighted that for the right to food to be realised, legislation must be implemented. Shecalled for concerted efforts of parliamentarians, the executive, the judiciary, communities, civil society, academia, the private sector, and individuals.

During the event, consensus was reached on the need to position a human-rights-based approach at the centre of the policy and legislative agenda to ensure the inclusive transformation of Uganda’s food systems.

Participants at the conference agreed that adopting the 2009 Food and Nutrition Bill into law, and incorporating the right to adequate food, could help counter the current setbacks in food insecurity and malnutrition.

FAO’s Work on Right to Food in Uganda

FAO has, over the years, supported the implementation of the right to food in Uganda with technical advice to state and non-state actors for the formulation of the Uganda Food and Nutrition Policy in 2003. FAO also supported the drafting of the Food and Nutrition Bill, as well as a bill on consumer protection rights and on good governance practices in addressing food insecurity at the local level.

In 2022, FAO, in partnership with the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO), assessed the impact of national emergency laws and regulations on access to affordable and nutritious food and their implications on the realisation of the right to adequate food in Uganda. The findings were presented at the conference.

It is worth noting that at the continental level, FAO supported the Pan African Parliament to develop the Model Law on Food and Nutrition Security, adopted in November of last year, and is committed to supporting African states strengthen their domestic laws pertaining to the right to adequate food. 



Related links

Legislative recognition of the right to food in Uganda

Mainstreaming the Right to Food into sub-national plans and strategies

FAO in Uganda

Second Conference on the right to adequate food in Uganda (Concept note)


Integrating Food and Nutrition Security and the Right to Food in Local Government Development Planning and Budgeting

Toolkit for Assessing the Right to Food at District Level in Uganda

Right to adequate food in constitutions

Framework laws on the right to adequate food

Legislating for adequate food and nutrition in schools

Enabling legal environment for the responsible governance of tenure

Enabling legal environment for responsible investment in agriculture and food systems

Legislative approaches to improve nutrition

Legal measures to eradicate rural poverty