Harare - Persistent hunger and under-nutrition continue to be major obstacles to development and economic growth in Zimbabwe, especially among the poor. A third of Zimbabwe’s children between six months and five years are short for their age and hence more prone to disease. The United Nations, through its specialist agencies- WFP, UNICEF, WHO and FAO - has supported the development of the Food and Nutrition Security Policy for Zimbabwe. The policy, launched in Harare on 16 May 2013 by the President of Zimbabwe, H.E Robert Mugabe, seeks to promote adequate food and nutrition security for all, particularly amongst the poor whose lives are most vulnerable to the dangers and deprivations caused by hunger and malnutrition.
The policy is the beginning of a concerted effort to address food security and nutrition challenges in a robust, co-ordinated, and multi-sectoral manner. Built on a long-standing commitment to eradicate hunger as well as on global and local evidence and best practices, the policy marks a significant step by the Government of Zimbabwe in addressing food and nutrition insecurity and in promoting economic development. The policy was developed through a multi-agency pyramid of consultations from community to technical and policy-making level, as mandated by a 1998 cabinet decision.
“Under-nutrition is one of the world’s most under-reported and least understood issues in the development arena today,” said acting WFP Country Director Abdurrahim Siddiqui at the launch. “The policy is one of the greatest opportunities we have to help children and the nation to reach their potential and achieve economic development.” Improved nutrition contributes to sustainable and equitable growth, which in turn leads to poverty reduction. Good nutrition also significantly decreases maternal and child deaths, enhances gender equality and improves the efficacy of treatment for conditions such as HIV and AIDS. Investing in nutrition, therefore, is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and other development objectives.”
Speaking on behalf of the United Nations family, UNICEF Representative Dr. Gianfranco Rotigliano thanked the Government and partners for leading the initiative and reiterated the United Nations’ continued support to the Government in the implementation of the policy.