RCE Greater Masaka - 2018

Revitalizing use of indigenous food resources for food and nutrition security
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Revitalizing use of indigenous food resources for food and nutrition security
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Masaka
Contributing organization(s) : 
Uganda Martyrs University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Br. Aloysius Byaruhanga
Organizational Affiliation: 
Department of Education for Sustainable Development and Community Engagement, and RCE Greater Masaka Coordinating Center, Uganda Martyrs University
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Responding to Climate change and Managing natural resources
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Africa and Middle East
RCE Greater Masaka, Masaka District
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Uganda Martyrs University. P. O. Box 5498 Kampala
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The region has over 5 million people, majority dependent on natural resources for food and income with approximately 75% being subsistence mixed farmers. The region is endowed with resources such as social capital, rich agricultural soils, abundant water resources from lakes and rivers. However, these resources are faced with threats including; increasing population without technological innovations and resilience of natural resources. These have resulted into widespread watershed; land and forests degradation characterized by loss of indigenous tree species and foods being replaced by exotic ones; loss of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity and frequent droughts and famine.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
The introduction of monocultures and high yielding food varieties and associated application of external inputs has increased economic dependence (which is not sustainable) and eroded the rich and diverse biogenetic base. Indigenous foods especially root crops are important food security crops, as they are drought and heat tolerant. However, their importance is being neglected, and little is understood on their role in enhancing resilience of communities to the impacts of climate change and variability on food security. Thus, these food resources and the related knowledge that sustained humanity for generations are continuously being lost.
October, 2016 to October, 2019
Despite nutritional values, low cost for production, and resilience to harsh conditions, families/farmers are turning away from growing and conserving indigenous food crops. While there is need for subsistence farmers to produce for market for poverty reduction, the push for production of exotic varieties at the expense of indigenous ones need to be re- examined, as indigenous foods also have the same potential. It is therefore very important to revitalize and promote their growing in communities. The project thus enables the young generation to know the different indigenous foods; for foods becoming extinct, approaches for conservation are determined and promoted.
The purpose of this research project is to document and share knowledge of the indigenous foods in the study area, establish the neglected and under – exploited indigenous food resources, and revive their use and conservation especially among the young people. The study therefore, enables the young generation to know the different indigenous food resources, their utilization, and preservation and conservation practices to ensure food and nutrition security in the region. For the food resources that are becoming extinct, approaches for their conservation are determined and promoted.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The project is action research based, thus implemented in phases. Phase I was community diagnosis and assessment of the level of knowledge about indigenous foods among children (school going-primary). It involved rapid surveys/interviews with schools, reconnaissance meetings and transect walks with the community, analysis and action planning.

Phase II (current stage of the project) is the implementation of the planned activities, and these involved; conducting field days, practical sessions/demonstrations on preparation of these foods, sourcing for and distribution of planting materials, and setting up of multiplication centers through practical training on planting with schools and in community

Phase III (final stage) shall involve distribution of material to wider group, setting up a seed bank, evaluation and analysis, and final report writing.
Size of academic audience: 
200 children in the participating school participated in the field days, and the practical training on planting. 50 community member who are hosting the multiplication centers that were set up by the project
Through the rapid surveys conducted in schools, it was found out that children were aware of the indigenous food but they were not available in the community. The accessibility and availability was confirmed in the meetings and transect walks with the community, from which important and threatened indigenous foods (according to the study areas) were identified in the categories of legumes, vegetables and root crops, for which then a plan of action was developed.

200 children from the participating school have been trained and participated in the filed days and practical sessions on planting different indigenous foods.

50 multiplication centers established to ease access to planting materials especially the threatened foods, particularly root crops and legumes.
Lessons learned: 
Children can be great ambassadors and custodians of knowledge if they are engaged in the generation of that knowledge

The indigenous/traditional food resources are being neglected by farmers because of the perception that they are not economically potential.

Access to the planting materials of the “very important” indigenous foods for the community is a big challenge, as this affected the number of multiplication centers and the planting time as had earlier planned.

A gene seed bank/repository is very important to work as an alternative conservation center for these indigenous food resources. The Faculty of Agriculture of Uganda Martyrs University can manage the center; however, there are limited funds for proper establishment of the center.
Key messages: 
Reviving production and promotion of use of indigenous food resources in the communities as it responds to the critical challenge of food security and nutrition resulting from climate change, and it is critical for subsistence and sustainable farming since it enables production of local seed material.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Biodiversity regeneration since the agronomic practices for some foods like vegetables and yams require regeneration in terms of soil management and water conservation. For example a certain type of yam grows well on Ficus tree, thus, growing them require planting of ficus trees.
The project is funded by Uganda Martyrs University under the University’s research fund
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
Traditional Knowledge  
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level