Representatives for Youth in Agriculture for Economic Development (YAED) are calling for coordinated effort in the fight against malnutrition and poverty alleviation among infants and the youth in the country, respectively.
It says the war against malnutrition and poverty will only be won if different stakeholders join hands for the common goal.
Speaking in Chiradzulu during the launch of rooting out infant malnutrition with Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) project, YAED Programs Manager Happy Arnold said access to clean planting material for nutritious crop remains a challenge in potato production and he advised women and youth to join hands in the eradication of malnutrition and poverty for a better Malawi.
Arnold said OFSP is increasingly becoming an important crop in terms of its contribution to food and nutrition security.
“Deaths of infants caused by poverty should be put to an end. This can only work better if we work hand in hand with young mothers and the youth in poverty alleviation and economic development. Considering the fact that OFSP is drought tolerant, it can be used to address Vitamin A deficiency and food insecurity. It is also pathetic to see children dying due to malnutrition”, he said.
Arnold added that the project is currently being implemented with support from International Potato Center (IPC) and will assist young mothers and youth in the production of OFSP and equip them with knowledge on the importance of the dairy consumption of nutritious foods.
YAED Co-Founder said malnutrition has an impact on the development of a community and nation at large especially delayed psychomotor development among the infants.
In his remarks International Potato Center (CIP) Project Facilitator John Kazembe said there are high chances of reducing malnutrition with Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) project.
He pointed that nutrient deficiency infections commonly co-occur in children saying malnutrition has big devastating effects on the economy of the country and needs to be addressed at all cost.
Kazembe narrated that if not carefully considered, the pandemic may result into Permanent morbidity especially to fewer than five children and high social cost services to the health sector in particular.
“Malnourishment can greatly compromise child’s immune system making them more susceptible to infectious diseases. Particularly in situations where there are poor sanitary practices, children are vulnerable to infections from other children or caregivers. OFSP can actually play a big role in combating the permanent morbidity and high social cost which is already crippling the health sector”, he said
He added that Malawi will continue facing numerous challenges of malnutrition if not fully addressed. As such there is need to adopt the use of OFSP and fight malnutrition.