In an effort to advance the Graca Machel’s Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition project (RMNCAH+N), MaiKhanda Trust in collaboration with Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance (CSONA) on 26th October, 2017 joined the government and the rest of Malawians in a joint commemoration of the World Food Day and Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security at Sangadzi Primary school, T/A Nankumba in Mangochi district.
MaiKhanda and CSONA participated in this event to advance the Graca Machel RMNCAH+N project whose mode of implementation includes the commemoration of key international days that tackle issues of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, adolescent health and nutrition.
During the event, MaiKhanda took the opportunity of the event to highlight the post 2015 nutrition targets with a specific touch on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) and stated that there is need to address issues that impact on food security and Nutrition in the country if these targets are to be realized.
In their address to the Guest of Honour, Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Honourable Joseph Mwanamveka, GMT Youth Advocate Hastings Banda, and CSONA’s Campaign Officer, Mr. Joseph Gausi explained the goal of the project and how it operates in Malawi strengthening advocacy and communications efforts around the SDGs domestication process. Through the display of nutrition fact sheets they also pointed out that there is need to increase investment and advocacy in nutrition and food security if SDG 2 is to be achieved.
In his speech, Hon Mwanamveka said the government is promoting consumption of micronutrient rich foods as well as diversified production of both crops and livestock to improve consumption of varying diets using the Malawian six food groups.
“The government is supporting 750 schools on home grown school meals, a programme which promotes consumption of different foods in schools. We are also advising people to be taking nutritious indigenous foods such as bonongwe, chisoso and many others” he said.
He also stated that the Malawi Government is encouraging people to utilise the high value crops such as iron bio fortified beans, orange fleshed sweet potatoes and yellow maize which are bio-fortified with Vitamin A.
Tackling the issue of agriculture and food security, the Minister said government has put up various projects and programmes aimed at breaking the vicious cycle of food insecurity such as promoting large scale irrigation farming through the Green Belt initiative, Farm Input Subsidy Programme and small scale irrigation schemes. However, migration of people from rural areas to urban areas presents complex challenges such as increased pressure over scarce resources which brings negative impacts on national development.
World Food Day is celebrated globally on 16th October every year mainly by organisations and agencies concerned with food security and nutrition. This year’s event was commemorated under the themes ‘Change the Future of Migration: Invest in Food Security and Rural Development’ and ‘Advancing in sustainable food systems for health diets and improved nutrition, key for harnessing Africa’s demographic dividends’ as it was a joint event for World Food Day and Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security.
Chancellor College, World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), UN Women, Concern Worldwide, Mosanto, NASFAM, Feed the Future, Mangochi Agribusiness Support and Department of Agricultural Extension Services were some of the participants at the event.