Workshop to validate EAC food, nutrition security bulletin underway

TANZANIA: A TWO-DAY workshop to validate the Draft East African Community Food and Nutrition Security Bulletin is currently underway in Kampala, Uganda.

In remarks read on his behalf by the Principal Agricultural Economist, Mr Fahari Marwa, at the opening session of the workshop, EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki, said that the draft regional FNS bulletin specifically gives updates on the regional food security and nutrition status through analysis of food types and availability together with people’s access to quality food supplies within partner states during the review period.

“To gauge the region’s level of food and nutrition security, the bulletin highlights data on children below five years regarding underweight, overweight and wasting aspects.

“It also unveils data of acute malnutrition on expectant or lactating mothers, disaster risk management approaches and policies on food and nutrition matters, macroeconomics dynamics and regional food starvation levels, among other things,” said Dr Mathuki.

Dr Mathuki said that the Regional Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) Bulletin is a product of the five-year EAC Strategy and Action Plan on Food and Nutrition Security as adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2019, adding that the goal of the strategy was to guide the implementation and actualisation of the regional food security objectives.

“The Strategy is designed to address prevailing gaps and challenges undermining food and nutrition security in the region by providing a unified multi-sectoral approach to implementation and coordination of food and nutrition security programmes at national and regional level,” said Dr Mathuki, adding that the bulletin would key to updating the EAC Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) on the food and nutrition security situation in East Africa.

“The Bulletin will be published quarterly with an up-to-date and detailed account of the food and nutrition security situation in the region.

“It is also important to note that it is now a requirement that the SCAFS must be regularly updated on the status of food and nutrition security in the region. This is necessary to inform policy decisions on increasing access to quality, affordable, safe and nutritious food,” said the Secretary General.

The objectives of the USAID-Kenya/East Africa sponsored workshop are threefold: to provide a platform for Partner States to verify the scope and content of the bulletin; ensure ownership of the information contained in the bulletin, and; deliberate and agree on a sustainable mechanism for regular updating, production and dissemination of the Bulletin on quarterly basis.

In his remarks, the Chairperson of the workshop, Dr Désiré Ntakirutimana, underscored importance of producing and sharing a finalised version of the Food and Nutrition Security Bulletin saying that the document would assist policy makers to make informed decisions.

Dr Ntakirutimana, who is also the Director of Animal Health in the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock in Burundi, said that Bulletin should as much as possible, reflect the true situation of food and nutrition security in Partner States.

The Chairperson urged the experts attending the workshop to do their best to enrich the draft bulletin in a manner that will make it valuable to policy makers and other stakeholders.

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