Malawi News Agency (Lilongwe)

17 July 2014

Southern Africa: SADC Region Faces High Under-Nutrition Issues Despite Bumper Yields

Lilongwe — The Southern African Development Community SADC joint meeting of Ministers of Agriculture and Food Security, Health and Nutrition on the food and nutrition security strategy has assured the region to create a healthy Africa.

Malawi's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr George Chaponda explained that despite that the sub-Sahara Region has conducive environment for agriculture, the regional food and nutrition security situation remains unstable and unpredictable.

"The proportion of food insecure households in SADC member states remains high despite improved food production in some member states in recent years," Chaponda said Thursday.

Speaking at the opening session of the joint meeting at Cross Roads Hotel in Lilongwe, he said that the SADC region has identified under-nutrition as one of the challenges for the region and a major barrier to poverty eradication and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He added that on food security Malawi intends to continue implementing the Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) to support maize production by subsistence maize farmers with improved and efficient subsidy system.

The Government is going to continue working on the Green Belt Initiative in order that we should produce more cereals which will also enable solving under-nutrition issues in Malawi and SADC as a region.

The region has however developed a strategy to specifically address critical challenges of food and nutrition security.

"The strategy aims to implement a wide range of SADC policies and programmes which will holistically address issues of food and nutrition security from a multi-sectoral perspective," said Chaponda.

Director of SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate Margaret Nyirenda said the meeting is going to produce good results to help SADC member states implement the agenda in the roadmap of improving food and nutrition production.

"I am optimistic that the meeting is going to tackle issues which affect the people on the grassroots level. This will bring some change to the economy of the SADC Member States," said Nyirenda.

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