CAIRO – The World Food Programme (WFP) and Egypt’s Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade (MoSIT) last week signed a five-year agreement to strengthen social safety nets in support of the food and nutrition needs of the most vulnerable.
Under the agreement signed, WFP will assist the government in identifying key areas where improvements can be made to national supply chains. These improvements would aim to reduce the cost of food supplied through the national subsidy programme and ultimately its price as well as make it more nutritious.
“One of our shared objectives through this agreement is reducing food losses by linking farmers, especially smallholder farmers, to improved storage and transportation solutions,” said WFP Representative and Country Director in Egypt Menghestab Haile. “We would also build on our past collaboration with the government in food fortification to boost the nutritional value of key food commodities included in the government’s subsidy programme.”
Priority will be given to re-starting the fortification of subsidized wheat flour. In 2008, WFP began working with the government on a nationwide plan to enrich subsidised baladi bread with micronutrients including iron and folic acid, both vital to health and key for children’s development. The six-year project later involved the enrichment of subsidised cooking oil with vitamins A and D.
WFP will also work with the government on improving people’s diets with a view to preventing chronic malnutrition among children in the first 1,000 days of their lives as well as among pregnant and nursing women.
“WFP is currently implementing the 1,000 days of life pilot project with the support of MoSIT, as well as the Ministry of Social Solidarity and the Ministry of Health,” added Haile. “The pilot project targets 40,000 pregnant and nursing women in Sohag, Qena and Assiut governorates. WFP aims to expand the project to more governorates and eventually nationwide.”
Under the agreement, WFP will also support the government in improving
information technology and knowledge management systems for better data quality including the profiles and geographical distribution of people benefiting from the subsidy system. This would ensure targeting of most-rightful recipients of subsidised food as well as beef up monitoring and evaluation of the subsidy system.
The GIS Unit in MoSIT will be used as a tool for geographic targeting; and enhancing the capacity of key government institutions to monitor food security situation and providing timely early warning indicators to decision-makers.
“Egypt is fully committed to achieving the recently endorsed “Sustainable Development Goals 2030”; of which reducing hunger and poverty are top priorities. These goals complement the core of the Egyptian Constitution where food and nutrition security is the constitutional right of every Egyptian,” H.E Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Ali El Moshli who co-signed the agreement. “We are fully committed to addressing the root causes of poverty, food insecurity and social justice in the country, where food and nutrition security of all Egyptians is a top priority.”
Every day, WFP and its partners work to achieve the vision of a zero-hunger world. In alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, achieving this vision by 2030 requires WFP to make nutritious food accessible and available all year round as well as eliminate stunting; increase rural economic opportunity; prevent food waste; and promote sustainable agricultural development.
WFP has been working in Egypt since 1968 and is currently supporting over one million people through different projects implemented in the country’s most vulnerable governorates. WFP activities aim to enhance the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable groups in a way that is sustainable and lasting.
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