Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR is seeing increased stunt growth in children over recent years, health officials revealed as the newly formed Zanzibar national Food Security and Nutrition Council (ZFSNC) held its first meeting.
"Stunted growth has increased from 11 to 30 per cent in recent years in Zanzibar. This is bad news," said Mr Mzee Rajab at the meeting chaired by the Second Vice-President, Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi.
The UN estimates that 165 million children under the age of 5 years, roughly 26 per cent, were stunted in 2011 and that more than 90 per cent of the world's stunted children live in Africa and Asia, as health experts warn that stunting and its effects typically become permanent.
Rajab joined Mr Ali Ramadhani and Ms Mastura Kassim to ask Zanzibaris to minimize heavy reliance on rice by eating other types of food available locally. Ramadhani informed members of ZFSNC that people on the islands consume rice a lot. "While the production in Zanzibar is about 13,000 tons, the importation in 2011 was more than 50,000 tons," he said.
Commenting on food situation on the Isles, Ambassador Iddi emphasized on commitment, accountability, unity and hardworking for Zanzibar to achieve its ambition of having foods security for a health nation.
Zanzibar lawmakers passed the Food, Security and Nutrition Bill in 2011 and President Ali Mohamed Shein launched the Council last year along line the inauguration of the Inter-Sectoral Steering Committee (ISSC).
Zanzibar government wants to ensure that quality and nutritious food is accessible to every Zanzibari. Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it and a household is considered food-secure when its occupants are not hungry or live in the fear of starvation.