Botswana to conduct cost of hunger study

| September 20, 2013

Botswana has been selected to conduct the cost of hunger study to determine the amount spent to address nutrition issues.

Speaking at the just ended New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) conference, African Union Head of Food and Nutrition Programme Bibi Giyose said the study is intended to find the costs of hunger and malnutrition as well as be used for the country nutrition policy design.

Giyose said that it is important to address nutrition issues from a multisectorial approach, as they are the cornerstone for both social and economic development.

“There is no way of telling how much of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) goes to nutrition and the study will determine that.”

It was revealed at the conference that communities within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) suffer from chronic malnutrition due to poor capacities to fight hunger by their governments.

SADC delegates indicated that most countries do not have exact policies that incorporate nutrition into their national agricultural plans.

SADC representative Joseph Mthetwa said it is a challenge to align nutrition into agriculture, as some countries do not even know where it is positioned within their different sectors.

He said as a result Sub Saharan Africa including SADC surfer from high mortality due to poverty, especially expecting mother. He noted that due to poverty and poor nutrition a number of children suffer from stunted growth causing ill development of the brain and face new challenges such as obesity.

According to the Africa Region Nutrition Officer Mohamed Ag-Bendech, 50 percent reduction in mortality can only be achieved through improved nutrition, sanitation and social well being of the people.

Ag-Bendech explained that if provided with the right technology and methodology on how to incorporate nutrition into policies governments can go a long way in improving the livelihoods of their citizens.

For his part acting Deputy Permanent Secretary, Support Services at the Ministry of Agriculture Boweditswe Masilo said malnutrition cases in Africa have escalated when compared to the 1990s. He said now the problem has fueled social and economic challenges.

“Hence it is important to deal with the problem within different sectors of the economy because the Ministry of Agriculture cannot do it on their own,” he said.

Masilo said part of their plans to engage local small farming community to take part in the school feeding programs. The farmers will be given knowledge on nutrition issues to ensure that they provide a balanced diet.

“School feeding can go a long way in ensuring nutrition within students as well as lure children to school,” he said.

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