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On World Food Day, WFP Says Investment In Nutrition Is Key To Unlocking A Better Future

DUSHANBE –The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is marking World Food Day on 16 October by highlighting the power of nutrition to transform individuals, societies and economies, and the need to make it central to all development efforts.

“Undernourished girls and boys face barriers in health, in school performance and later, in the workplace, which limit their human potential and their capacity to contribute to the societies in which they live,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin.

“Prioritising nutrition today is an investment in our collective global future.  The investment must involve food, agriculture, health and education systems,” she said.

Today some 842 million people - more than one in eight people in the world – suffer from chronic hunger. Yet even more – around two billion people - lack the vitamins and minerals needed to live healthy lives. 

If the global community invested US$1.2 billion per year for five years on reducing micronutrient deficiencies, the benefits in better health, fewer child deaths and increased future earnings would generate gains worth US$15.3 billion.

“Here in Tajikistan, WFP is assisting about 560,000 people in both development and recovery activities, WFP's biggest activity is school feeding that provides a daily hot meal to 370,000 primary school children – 60 percent all schoolchildren in rural areas,” said WFP Tajikistan Country Director Nicolas Oberlin. “WFP, the largest humanitarian agency in Tajikistan, also provides food to some 145,000 people living in the hardship regions of the country as well as to 44,400 Tuberculosis patients and their families. The agency's goal is to improve household food security, build community assets and promote investment in human capital.” 

The theme of this year’s World Food Day is “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition.”  Providing food assistance to 97 million people worldwide, here are some of the ways WFP focuses on nutrition:

•    Rapidly increasing the number of children and new mothers who receive new nutritionally enhanced food products.
•    Focusing on the crucial 1,000 day window - from the womb to two years of age – where getting sufficient nutrients and calories is crucial for full growth. 
•    Stepping up assistance through cash and vouchers when food is available in markets, so consumers can buy more fresh and varied local foods.
•    Emphasising dietary diversity and fresh foods in its school feeding programmes, by working with local communities and farmers.
•    Working with private partners and research institutes to assess the nutritional impact of providing fortified rice in school meals
•    Supporting the creation of a solid evidence base to guide countries in their nutrition policies and strategies, such as the recent Cost of Hunger in Africa survey. 

To know more about WFP’s nutrition work in Tajikistan, visit our dedicated country page:
http://www.wfp.org/countries/tajikistan.

“This year marks WFP’s 20th anniversary in Tajikistan and it is committed to develop further this strong and fruitful partnership in support of the Government of Tajikistan’s objective to achieve food security,” said Oberlin.  

WFP celebrates World Food Day with its sister UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).  
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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide.  Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media  and @wfp 

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Malohat Shabanova, WFP/Dushanbe, Tel. +992 44 6252001 ext 2400 Mob+992 905058857
Azam Bahorov, WFP/Dushanbe, Tel. +992 44 6252001 ext 2420 Mob+992 907773845