Working Papers – Food Security

Busingye, J.D. (2021). Resilience of Subsistence Farming Systems to Food Insecurity in Uganda

More than 80% of the Ugandan population are subsistence farmers inhabiting the rural areas, producing food to feed both their families and the communities around them, even though they face numerous social, economic, ecological, climatic, environmental, and other related challenges. In the context of modernisation and mechanisation, where the most prominent narrative is that food production can only be increased by monocultural large-scale farms, subsistence farmers feeding their households are rendered irrelevant in policy debates and government interventions. While subsistence farming systems are regarded as failed ventures, mostly in need of rescue, farmers’ families continue to depend on these farms for all their needs. What stands out in practice, is the question of how the subsistence farmers survive, in such cruel policy regimes, to feed their families, and to ensure food security for their households. The stresses and shocks faced by such households are part of their daily routines, highly motivated by their need to survive, at the most basic level, by making sure that there is food to eat for the household members. However, there is minimal understanding of such circumstances and the conditions under which food makes it to the table in these households, or to the market.