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On World Food Day, UN And Government Say Investment In Nutrition Is Key To Unlocking A Better Future

LUPANE - The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (MoAM&ID), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) yesterday marked World Food Day by highlighting the power of nutrition to transform individuals, societies and economies, and the need to make it central to all development efforts. 

At the commemoration ceremony that took place at Tshongogwe Irrigation Scheme in Lupane, the organisations reaffirmed the need to strengthen international and national solidarity in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and poverty. 

“Sustainable food systems make use of available resources efficiently," said Permanent Secretary in the MoAM&ID Ringson Chitsiko. "We in Zimbabwe have to make sure we get the most food from every drop of water, plot of land, speck of fertilizer and minute of labour. This will make it possible for us to produce nutritious food for our people today while protecting the capacity of our children to feed themselves tomorrow."

Recognizing the role played by agriculture on food security and levels of nutrition especially in countries like Zimbabwe, FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for Southern Africa David Phiri went on to encourage further action. “While steady increases in agricultural production and productivity will continue to be crucial in the coming decades, they will have to be nutrition sensitive with stronger focus on foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and animal source foods. We also encourage the diversification of crop production to varieties with higher nutrient value”.

“Prioritising nutrition today is an investment in Zimbabwe’s future prosperity,” said WFP Country Director, Sory Ouane. “As such, addressing it requires urgent attention and integrated action in agriculture, natural resource management, public health and education. It is also important to promote public and private sector investment and provide smallholder farmers with access to markets.”

Good nutrition depends on healthy diets, and healthy diets require sustainable food systems – along with education, health and sanitation. Appropriate policies, incentives and good governance together hold the key to harnessing healthy food systems in Zimbabwe.

The theme of this year’s World Food Day is 'Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition'. FAO and partners established World Food Day to be observed annually on 16 October, the anniversary of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The main objectives of the day are to heighten public awareness about the nature and dimension of the world food problem, and to develop further a sense of national and international solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty.