The UN World Food Programme (WFP) marked 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.
15 October 2013
On World Food Day, Wfp Says Investment In Nutrition Is Key To Unlocking A Better Future
ROME/MASERU – 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 824 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.
“In Lesotho chronic malnutrition, specifically stunting is the major nutritional problem affecting children. More than 30% of children in Lesotho are stunted with certain regions reaching rates higher than 50%.” said WFP Lesotho Acting Country Director, Rui Possolo.
WFP has placed stunting as a top priority and recently participated in the ARISE Summit (Africa’s Renewed Initiative for Stunting Elimination), hosted by the Government of Lesotho. ARISE is led by the African Union to support the members states in the elimination of child under nutrition in Africa by the year 2025.
WFP is tacking stunting and under nutrition through a programme which assists 50,000 children under 5 years old, pregnant and lactating women. In addition to stunting this programme also tackles malnutrition within the population infected with HIV/AIDS and TB in which Lesotho ranks the 3rd highest in the world.
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. http://www.wfp.org/content/cost-hunger-africa
To know more about WFP’s nutrition work in Lesotho, 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:
WFP Lesotho +266 2232 3989