By Patrick Soko
The Zambia Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance has hailed government commitment to reduce by half, stunting among Zambian children by the year 2030. This is positive towards ending malnutrition which currently stands at 40% of children under the age of five.
Minister of Agriculture Michael Katambo announced At the GC Berlin, in Germany organised by the Global Citizen where World Leaders committed nearly 53 Million euro to Nutrition, Sanitation, Health, and the Environment.
He said would be done by placing agriculture at the centre of government’s plans for nutrition and economic development, taking a multi-sectoral approach and prioritise all forms of stunting and malnutrition especially among children under the age of five.
The Minister also Commitment to meet the threshold of $40 dollars per child under the age of five annually based on the estimates. With about 3.1 million children suffering from stunting in Zambia which prevents them from reaching their potential, CSO-SUN feels this commitment has come at the right time and will ensure that every child receives the nutrients they need to live a healthy life.
“We are hopeful that the Government will live up to its word and deliver on this important promise unlike in the past where they have failed to deliver as is the case with the African Union 2003 Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security which requires our government to allocate 10 percent national budget to agriculture and rural development which has not been fulfilled,” Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance Country Coordinator Mathews Mhuru said.
Mhuru the CSO-SUN is confident that if implemented, the Commitment by Hon Katambo will go a long way in improving the nutrition status of this country by the year 2030 and allow more children to succeed in school and other spheres.
He says CSO-SUN working with GC has had various engagements to secure this commitment, including submitting recommendations to the minister on world food day in 2018, bilateral meetings to push for food diversity, and submitted a petition to the Ministry. This commitment will reduce the overdependence on maize which has contributed to the high rates of malnutrition in Zambia.
He adds that Failure to honour this commitment will have repercussions on Zambia including the country’s chances of achieving its aspiration to be a prosperous upper-middle-income country by 2030.
“To this effect, it will be important that as government delivers on its promise, it also ensures consistent disbursement of resources to key institutions such as the National Food and Nutrition Commission that are key in nutrition coordination,” he said.