Meals for Nutrition (MENU) Biofortified Solutions in Uganda
A number of interventions have been taken by government, non-government, private and other stakeholders in addressing malnutrition in Uganda. Most of the interventions however were curative in nature including food supplementation, commercial fortification, and dietary diversity among others. However, affordable solutions that affect the rural most vulnerable have been inadequate.
Anaemia is a serious concern for children because it can impair cognitive development, stunt growth, and increase morbidity from infectious diseases. From the 2016 UDHS report, half of children age 6-59 months (53 percent) suffered from some degree of anaemia. The same report expresses that Children in rural areas are more likely to be anaemic than those in urban areas (54 percent and 48 percent, respectively). More alarming too is one in three women age 15-49 (32 percent) are anaemic, with more women in rural areas more anaemic than those in urban areas (33 percent and 27 percent, respectively). On the general nutrition status of children, 29 percent of children under 5 are considered to be stunted. Furthermore, Stunting is greater among children in rural areas (30 percent) than urban areas (24 percent).
Having successfully transited the Developing and Disseminating biofortified Crops (DDBC) project in 2016, World Vision in collaboration with HarvestPlus has received funding from USAID Feed the Future Initiative to implement five-year Meals for Nutrition in Uganda (MENU) the Biofortified Solutions project in Uganda. Biofortification has continuously proven to provide adequate vitamins and minerals to vulnerable mothers and children in ending malnutrition. Whereas HarvestPlus leads in developing biofortified crops, World Vision will continuously deliver and promote production and consumption such crops to rural vulnerable households targeting children under the age of five and women in reproductive age.
The project contributes greatly to World Vision Uganda five year (2016-20) Strategy with objective “To contribute to improved household resilience, Protection and sustainable well-being of 6,000,000 children especially the most vulnerable by 2020”. Specifically the project directly contributes to two strategic objectives;
- To improve the health and nutrition status of 6,000,000 children under 5 years, adolescents and women of reproductive age by 2020
- Improved livelihood resilience of 181,167 smaller holder farmers and agro pastoralists households and youth, for economic empowerment by 2020 (Farming as a business)
The project goal is to reduce micronutrient malnutrition and improve dietary intakes of vitamin A and iron for 65,000 households in 4 districts of Uganda by 2021. The project purpose is Increased production and consumption of high yielding iron beans, orange sweet potatoes, orange maize and pearl millet for increased farmers’ incomes, improved livelihoods and nutritional status of mothers and children.
MENU Project like DDBC will run a calendar year from January to December, on annual contracts dependent on performance. Funds will be disbursed semi-annually after submission of progress reports
The project is being implemented in four districts of Lira, Dokolo in Northern Uganda and Mpigi and Butambala in Central Uganda and six sub-counties of Amach, Adekokwok (Lira); Agwata, Amwoma (Dokolo); Muduuma (Mpigi) and Kalamba (Butambala). During beneficiary registration, one member is selected from each household as direct beneficiary. The project also promotes seed loan in that one direct beneficiary will support two other beneficiary households on harvest, to increase planting material in the community.
The project will address the following specific objectives;
- Provide and enhance production of Biofortified Orange sweet potatoes and iron beans among farmers
- Increase consumption and utilisation of Biofortified crops among children and women of reproductive age
- Create & intensify awareness on nutritional importance of Biofortified crops in the project area
- Advocate for scale up of Biofortified crops in the district.
At the end of five years, it is anticipated that MENU project will achieve the following outcomes;
- Increased commercialisation of Orange sweet potatoes and iron rich beans
- Increased awareness and buy-in of bio-fortified crops by government and other development organisations
- Increased farmer groups or individual farmers certified for clean/certified seed production
- Improved feeding practices among households for biofortified crops
The MENU project undertakes the following major activities;
- Identifies and trains farmers in plants agronomy enabling increased production and later establishment of a self-sustaining source of planting material in the community
- Distributes planting material through a seed loan mechanism
- Provides nutrition information to the beneficiaries through trainings and community drama,
- Will conduct field days, and radio shows to increase level of awareness and uptake of biofortified crops in the communities.
The project will also facilitate the marketing of the surplus biofortified crops through establishment and strengthening of market linkages, and support product development using both the OSP and HIB at local and commercial level
P.O Box 5319, Kampala