Malawi joined the world to commemorate the World Food Day and Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security as the main commemoration event took place at Kankhomba Primary School Ground, T/A Bvumbwe’s in Thyolo on Wednesday, October 16 2019.
The theme of the celebrations was “Our actions are our future; Healthy Diets for a Zero Hunger world”. Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Kondwani Nankhumwa presided over the event.
The minister said World Food Day and Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security are globally commemorated on 16th and 30th October every year in order to attract new commitments to achieve the ultimate goal of ending hunger.
“These events promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from all forms of malnutrition; and for the need to ensure food security and healthy diets for all. This resonates well with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2, which emphasizes not only the need to end hunger but, also the need to achieve food security by improving access to nutritious food while using sustainable agricultural production methods,” Nankhumwa informed the gathering.
He noted that people who experience food insecurity, including those who do not have access to enough nutritious food, are at greater risk of various forms of malnutrition. Malnutrition affects one in three people and can take the form of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stunting, wasting, over-weight and obesity, he noted.
“An unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor for deaths from non-communicable diseases, which include heart diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. Health problems linked to obesity are costing national health budget every year,” said Nankhumwa.
The minister said that achieving zero hunger therefore, is not only about feeding the hungry, but also nourishing people with healthy diets that include a sufficient variety of safe and nutritious foods.
Nankhumwa said agriculture remained a key government priority because of the impact it has on food, nutrition and income security in this country.
“Government has put up various projects and programmes aimed at addressing the problems of food and nutrition insecurity at all levels. In this regard, government is promoting irrigation farming through different programmes including the Greenbelt Initiative to increase food production amongst farmers,” said the minister.
He said government has included legumes in the Farm Input Subsidy Programme (FISP) input package so that there is intensified legume production for income and nutrition security.
“Diversified food production in agriculture will impact other social protection programmes like the Social Cash Transfer, and School Nutrition for the vulnerable, because people will have a variety of nutritious foods in their locality where they can purchase,” he said.
Nankhumwa noted that nutrition knowledge enables consumers to make healthier food choices because they acquire knowledge about available local, seasonal foods, their nutritional values and how to cook and preserve them, saying government with support from different partners conduct mass-media, public awareness campaigns, nutrition education programmes and community interventions that are aimed at providing nutrition information.
“Let me encourage farmers and everyone to have interest in these interventions as they are important for our good nutrition and health. Furthermore, different food products have nutrition labels, for those of us who can read, let us do so to know what we are consuming,” he said, adding that consumers require adequate and easy-to-understand product and nutrition information and avoid nutrient claims, which may mislead consumers about its overall nutritional quality.
Earlier, the minister visited Chandamale Milk Bulking Group, Mmelambuzi Irrigation Scheme in the same area. At the scheme, Nankhumwa inspected a banana nursery, cattle kraal, peach orchard and bean field. He also inspected pavilions at the venue where various groups exhibited various foods.
Secretary for Agriculture, Gray Nyandule-Phiri, FAO Resident Representative, Zhijun Chen, MP for this area, Ephraim Nayeja and Chief Bvumbwe also spoke at the event.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :