Tanzania is set to host developmental stakeholders meeting later this month in Dar es Salaam aimed at discussing actions needed to facilitate nutrition security through improved agricultural practices in Africa.
The event will be conducted jointly by New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) through its flagship programme, Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), and the Tanzanian government.
Head of Communications of Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperative, Richard Kasuga told The Guardian that the discussions will involve representatives from Regional Economic Communities (REC’s), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other development partners.
The Workshop will be held amid concerns that several countries that committed to accomplishing the Millennium Development Goal meant to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (MDG1) are not on track thus poverty targets have made little or no progress.
The urgency for increasing momentum to achieve this and other MDGs has intensified, as 2015 approaches.
Under the theme ‘Building capacity to mainstream Nutrition in National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans in Africa’ the meeting will bring together a range of participants from 18 countries, versed in Nutritional issues, including CAADP Country Focal Points, and delegates from Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Education, Finance, Civil Society and the Private Sector.
He said that the common objective will be to address challenges of malnutrition and exploring how best to coordinate efforts to effectively deliver nutrition services where they are most needed.
The overall goal of the Workshop will be to ensure that nutrition interventions are planned, budgeted for and implemented as part of National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans.
The meeting will also be part of a wider capacity-development process designed to assist countries in enhancing nutritional impact of national agriculture and food security investment plans.
According to Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki NEPAD’s Chief Executive Officer, the major constraints in promotion of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, include; little political commitment, lack in understanding within the agricultural sector of the role the industry plays in nutrition, and a few food security programmes having nutrition improvement as an explicit objective and component.
“To this end, countries are urged to develop action plans in order to strengthen coordination among appropriate sectors and stakeholders in aligning the on-going and new nutrition programmes with current or planned agriculture programs,” said Dr Mayaki.
The Workshop is organised in the context of food supply and fight against hunger. Under CAADP Pillar 3, the key objective is to achieve MDG1 through agriculture growth aimed at increasing the supply of affordable nutritious and safe food, improving incomes of the poor while ensuring overall dietary diversity.
He said that at the end, participants will be expected to produce recommendations and action plans for strengthening capacities across various institutions which deal with agricultural issues.
Moreover, HIV/AIDS and gender issues will be taken into account, considering their links to nutritional issues.
The workshop will be the second after the first one being hosted in Dakar, Senegal for West Africa region in November 2011.