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

Published on 17 October 2013

ROME/KAMPALA – 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 in reducing micronutrient deficiencies, the benefits in better health, fewer child deaths and increased future earnings would generate gains worth US$15.3 billion.

Uganda loses some 1.8 trillion Uganda shillings (US$899 million) annually because of chronic hunger, according to the Cost of Hunger in Africa study, published in June.

“WFP is addressing chronic hunger, especially in the drought-prone Karamoja region, in line with the Uganda Nutrition Action Plan,” said WFP’s Uganda representative, Alice Martin-Daihirou. 

Alice Martin-Daihirou said that WFP aims to reach an estimated 40,000 children and women at risk of chronic malnutrition through its mother-and-child health and nutrition programme this year in Karamoja. 

In the same region, WFP is supporting school meals, community-based supplementary feeding and asset-creation programmes in a bid to achieve short- and long-term solutions to chronic hunger. WFP works with the Government and other development partners.

Last year WFP bought food worth over US$12 million in Uganda, including from smallholder farmers’ groups, through the warehouse receipt system. WFP is assisting the Government to address chronic hunger, through local purchases using the Purchase for Progress initiative, which targets mostly smallholder farmers. 

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 – when 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 learn more about WFP’s nutrition work in Uganda, visit our dedicated country page:

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. 

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For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):
Lydia Wamala on 256.312.242.000 or mob: +758.778.037