Food waste supply and behavior towards its alternative uses in Kampala City, Uganda


By Irene Best Nyapendi

Solid waste management is a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. The rapid population growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Uganda, has led to an increase in food waste.

Food waste poses environmental and health burdens, but it also has alternative uses such as animal feed, compost, and energy generation.

 A study by Dr. Geoffrey Ssepuuya, a senior lecturer at Uganda Christian University (UCU), Elsie Nsiyona, Moses Kakungulu, Jane Frances Alowo, and Paul Nampala aimed to quantify the types and amounts of food waste and assess the attitudes and practices of food waste generators towards its disposal and potential use.

The study was conducted in Kampala city, with a sample size of 330 respondents, including households, institutions (hotels, restaurants, and schools), and markets.

The majority of respondents were youth and adults, with a minimum literacy level, and were married. Women in households and business owners in markets were identified as key gatekeepers of waste generation and management.

The study found established that there is a daily production of 768 metric tons of food waste in Kampala, with an estimated 312-380 kt of food waste generated annually. The majority of respondents disposed of food waste through dumping, with only a few considering alternative uses.

In a week, about 96, 72, and 93% of all the respondents in households, institutions and produce markets respectively experienced food waste at least one to three times.  

Over 90% of the respondents recognized food waste as a problem, and as a resource especially for use in livestock feed production, and were willing to consume house crickets raised on feed from food waste.

The study also found that literacy and education level, marital status, and income level influenced respondents’ attitudes and practices towards food waste management.

As a result of the research, the team led by Ssepuuya have launched a project aimed at converting food waste to a safe and shelf-stable cricket feed.