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World Environment Day 2013: The reality of ‘reducing one’s foodprint’ in the Lake Victoria basin

Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your foodprint is the theme of World Environment Day 2013, to be celebrated on the 5th of June, 2013. The food-inspired global campaign focuses on the fact that over one billion tons of food are lost or wasted each year, according to the UN Environment Programme. National celebrations are in Kalangala Islands and Jomo Kenyatta grounds – Kisumu in Uganda and Kenya respectively (both in the Lake Victoria region)

The campaign, supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization and others, aims to reduce food loss along the entire chain of food production and consumption and specifically targets food wasted by consumers, retailers and the hospitality industry.

The relevance of this global campaign hinges on the message it generates, and what it brings on board for the Lake Victoria basin inhabitants (about 35 million people in Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda). One key overriding concern for this region is the increasing inequality among and within these countries, as well as between rural and urban populations. The impacts of poverty are reflected on among other factors, poor health and malnutrition (EAC/ LVBC, 2006).

Though the majority of people in the Lake Victoria basin are poor, the region’s population growth rate is one of the fastest in the world (EAC/ LVBC, 2006). This has serious socio-economic, political and environmental implications. One of these relates to strategies that are in place to feed the growing population in light of the declining environmental quality. Furthermore the region’s food security has been caught off guard by the crop diseases on major staple crops like bananas and cassava, while the transformation of the Lake Victoria fishery into an industrial and commercial venture has contributed to the food insecurity problem (FAO, 2005).

In light of the above scenario, as I see it, the Think. Eat. Save. Reduce your foodprint Campaign, raises critical context – specific issues and concerns from and for the Lake Victoria communities. More

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