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Commemorating World Food Day 2018 in Malawi

A #ZeroHunger World by 2030 is possible

31 October 2018 - “Zero hunger means working together to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has access to the safe, healthy and nutritious food that they need.” This was the spirit of the day on 23 October, at the World Food Day 2018 commemoration in Nkhotakota district, Central Region, Malawi.

This event was organized by the Government of Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners including those from the private and non-governmental sectors.

Presided over by the Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Honourable Joseph Mwanamvekha MP, the event was held under the theme, “Our Actions are the Future: A #ZeroHunger World by 2030 is possible.”

In his speech, the minister highlighted actions which the government of Malawi is taking to ensure food security for all, as well as actions, which communities can take to ensure sustainable food supply for households.

“Smallholder farmers need to adopt new and sustainable agricultural methods to assist in increasing productivity and income whilst also ensuring resilience through approaches that are responsive to the environment. Planting a diverse selection of crops can help to maintain healthy soils, regulate pests and diseases, improve pollination and reduce the impact of climate change. Farmers should use seeds that are more resistant to drought and disease, breed livestock that are suited to local temperatures and plant trees that are heat and drought-tolerant,” he said.

This World Food Day event included field visits, which provided an opportunity for guests and community members to appreciate activities that are contributing to the reduction of hunger within Nkhotakota district.

A visit to Chilimbikitso club in Kalusa Village highlighted how this group, comprising 40 farmers, is benefiting from commercial pineapple farming.

“From pineapple farming we are able to support other farming practices, where we rear livestock and grow crops such as sweet potato, rice, cassava and maize for food. Our families have enough to eat thanks to pineapple farming,” said chairperson of the club Mr. Alfred Mang’ango.

Speaking at the event, FAO Representative ad interim, James Okoth, said, “FAO and the UN community in general recognize the Government of Malawi’s steadfast commitment to develop the agriculture sector and address attendant challenges affecting food and nutrition.  In particular, we commend the special attention given to the sector under the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy 2017 – 2022 (MGDS III) and the National Resilience Strategy; the recently launched National Agriculture Investment Plan 2017/18 – 2022/23 and Malawi’s National Multi-Sectorial Nutrition Policy 2018 – 2022.”

The World Food Day commemoration included a visit to Bua Rice Irrigation Scheme; a value addition centre processing rice for sale; viewing of pavilions where various partners including farmers showcased the initiatives being implemented to combat hunger and malnutrition; dances; and speeches.

European Union World Food Day Debate

Continuing with the World Food Day 2018 commemorations, the European Union Delegation in Malawi funded a World Food Day debate, at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) on 26th October. This event called for action from young people, urging them to join in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Similarly, this event was also held under the World Food Day 2018 theme, “Our Actions are Our Future: A #ZeroHunger world by 2030 is possible”.

The function provided an opportunity for FAO to interact with students regarding the ongoing collaboration between FAO and EU on climate change, nutrition-sensitive agriculture and strengthening extension delivery through farmer field schools, providing insights into how these contribute to the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

The World Food Day debate invited young people, mostly students at LUANAR, to take action and be a part of the fight against hunger in Malawi. This was in recognition of the fact that the youth of Malawi as custodians of the future, should harness the skills and knowledge gained through their education and experience, and join in the fight to achieve zero hunger. The EU Ambassador particularly cited those young people with studies focusing on agriculture and nutrition, as being central to the advancement of the zero hunger goal.

“It is you agronomists, agricultural engineers who can make a change in the zero hunger fight. It is your generation that is tasked with achieving this goal of zero hunger,” the European Union Ambassador to Malawi, Sandra Paesan said in her speech.

Tasked with this, young people got involved in a lively debate that brought together nutritionists and agriculture extension experts on a discussion of whether or not the goal of zero hunger by 2030 is a real possibility in Malawi.

The event was a vibrant platform that drove home the message that Malawi’s youth should and can be part of the solution if the country is to achieve zero hunger.

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