By JULIET MAKWAMA
Agriculture Minister Reuben Mtolo Phiri says government is committed towards promoting the consumption of diverse diets to help address issues of obesity and the increase in the prevalence of diet related Non Communicable Diseases NCDs.
He says the media and other stakeholders such as teachers are therefore key towards promoting good nutrition behavior among members of the public.
Mr Phiri says every stakeholder needs to be involved in promoting the consumption of healthy diets across the country.
Mr Phiri was speaking during the official launch of the Food Based Dietary Guidelines Developed with support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO. “The promotion of a healthy lifestyle and consumption of a diverse diet will also address issues of obesity and the increase in the prevalence of diet related non communicable diseases. My government is therefore ready to work with all non-state actors in improving the availability, access and the consumption of high nutrient value foods by citizens in all parts of the country,” He said.
Mr Phiri says to this effect, Government will strengthen agriculture extension services to sensitise farmers on the importance of growing a variety of crops that should include fruits among others.
And FAO representative Suze Percy Filipini is hopeful that the guidelines will assist in changing the narrative of Zambia being amongst countries with high malnutrition levels with stunting levels in children being at 35 percent.
“Zambia is among the seven countries on the continent to have developed the food based dietary guidelines and FAO is hopeful that the guidelines will help in changing food behaviors for people to always make the best possible choices with their budgets,” she said.
Ms Filipini says ensuring nutrition is enhanced in the food supply chain is key towards changing this narrative.
She says the FAO stands ready to support the determination by government to improve nutrition.