28 June 2018

Sierra Leone: 'Over Three Million People Are Food Insecure'

The National Coordinator for the Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food (SiLNoRF), Mohamed S. Conteh, has noted that an estimated three million people were food insecure in the country, which, he said, represents 49.8% of the population.

He made the above statement on June 26th at Hotel Cabenda, Signal Hill Road in Freetown, during their National Right to Food Monitoring workshop.

He said despite the country has ratified various international, regional and national instruments, which oblige the state to fulfil the right to food; the country was still facing challenges with respect to food insecurity.

"The human right to food is a central and coherent element of the international Covenant of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Sierra Leone, which was ratified in 2006,"he said.

The SiLNoRF National Coordinator said there were more than 850 million people worldwide suffering from hunger and under nourishment, adding that food insecurity is a huge challenge in the country.

"SiLNoRF has a vision of making Sierra Leone where everyone has adequate and sufficient access to food and are able to claim their rights to it," Conteh said, adding that his organization was working towards the effective and efficient realisation of the right to food in the country through lobbying ,advocacy, monitoring , and continuous engagement with relevant stakeholders.

"The African Network on the Right to Food (ANoRF) was established in 2008 in Cotonou, Benin, as an African civil society mechanism to work exclusively on the right to food issues," he explained, noting that the establishment of ANoRF was followed by extensive discussions held in Nairobi with other African Civil Society organizations on issues of food and fuel crisis in 2007.

The SiLNoRF foreman noted that it was the same year SiLNoRF was established as a national right to food platform that was linked to the wider African worker.

Joseph Brima, Assistant Representative, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the workshop provided a platform for stakeholders to come together and discuss issues of food and nutritious in the country.

The FAO Assistant Rep said they played a part for the right to food to be included into the constitution during the review process and supported the establishment of the Scaling up Nutrition Secretariat (SUN).

He said they're working with Njala University to review their curriculum to introduce the right to food and nutrition in their curricula.

"The right to food and nutrition is still a huge challenge in Sierra Leone. Successive governments haven't been able to curb the situation. We have not been able to overcome the challenges, though we are able to get rice to feed ourselves," he said, adding that the price of rice keeps soaring.

Country director Welt Hunger Hilfe, Ursula Lang Kamp, noted that her organization was committed to the right to food and strengthening food and nutrition at community level.

The Welt hunger hilfe boss said behaviour change was also important to overcome food and nutrition in the country, adding that it was necessary for people to cultivate cassava, fruits or plantain instead of the well-known staple food- rice.

She however recommended for a research to be carried out on inequalities with a view to fostering democratic governance on food systems, and increase support for small scale food producers.

Joseph Saffa, Research Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, noted in his presentation that the right to adequate food can only be realised when every woman, man and child put effort in growing what they eat.

The Research and evaluation officer further said food must be free from dangerous substances like chemicals that come from polluted water or soil, adding that food production, processing, packaging and storage must follow international standards.

The National Right to food monitoring workshop was organized with support from welt hunger hilfe.

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