Saturday, December 13, 2008

LETTERS - Food, Democracy

Global food crisis
Written by Mibenge Mubanga, Kitwe

The government should not claim that the high mealie-meal prices on the market has a connection to the global food crisis. The truth is that our leaders are just selfish and are running away from reality. They have failed to make workable policies that are beneficial to the people of Zambia.

The government is importing maize from other countries because these countries planned well in agriculture for them to have surplus food.

Why are they only thinking of themselves in terms of economic hardships when every citizen is feeling this hardship? Schools are opening in January but workers are being retrenched without meaningful benefits. The prices of most essential commodities have been hiked. Yet these politicians are saying they are fighting poverty in the country.

The government should immediately solve the problems facing the agriculture sector for future food security, instead of increasing their salaries before they have implemented any workable policies.

We have the Zambia National Service production camps which the government should revamp, instead of making noise in Parliament. This measure has the capacity of creating employment for many youths who are currently languishing on the streets.

Let’s manage food resources
Written by Edify Hamukale
Saturday, December 13, 2008 9:27:31 AM

I have been observing with a keen eye for four years the food consumption behavioural patterns amongst fellow Zambians and I saw that we are not security-conscious in the way we utilise our limited food resources.

For the social functions that I attended in hotels where buffets were offered, more than 69 per cent of the Zambian guests collected more food than they needed and the remnants ended up being wasted in dust bins.

In German and Italy, I observed that more than 93 per cent of guests at similar functions collected only enough food for their meal requirements during a buffet feast.

Clearly, we are very wasteful in Zambia.

At household level in urban Zambia, more than 82 per cent of households cook more food than they need and most of the food bins and dumping pits show tremendous volumes of food being wasted.

In a food deficit year like 2008, the best in my opinion is to feed such left over food to pigs, goats, cattle or convert it into farmyard manure to be used in crop production. When the animals or livestock feed on the food wastes, human beings will later benefit from meat coming from livestock in a more nutritious form.

When we adhere to the sensible demands of food chains, food webs and ecosystems, we will not only be saving on our limited food stocks, but also helping in cleaning our surroundings in a bio-effective and sustainable manner.

Remember that energy is neither created nor destroyed but is only transformed from one form to another.

We can influence what form the energy takes. We can, for example, let the leftover food rot into organic matter at waste disposal sites or feed it to goats and later derive some protein and fat from goat meat.

The creeping obesity in younger Zambians between 22 and 30 years old could probably contribute towards food shortages in the country.

For obese people, the food shortage period in the country is wonderful time and opportunity to slim down and improve their health and life longevity.

The USA and Britain are among the world’s most obese or fat human populations to an extent that car manufacturers were being asked to make wider cars with wider driver seats to accommodate the tremendous evolution in human body weight.

In some airlines and buses, fat people are being charged double tickets for occupying too much space in the transport vessels.

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