FAO Regional Office for Africa

Symposium on Sustainable Indigenous African Diets for Food and Nutrition Security

5th Africa Food and Nutrition Day

Participants at the Symposium

3 November 2014, Kinshasa - A symposium on Sustainable Indigenous African Diets for Food and Nutrition Security jointly organized by the African Union Commission, Food and Agricultural Organization and the European Union has opened in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The symposium was a prelude to the 2014 Africa Food and Nutrition Security Day that falls on the 3rd of November 2014.

Food and nutrition experts from across the Continent discussed the importance of sustainable diets for Africa’s nutrition security and devise an harmonized approach to take stock and assess all African diets, including their potential contribution to nutrition security. They will also develop strategies for reintroducing traditional and indigenous foods into production and consumption systems and create a common understanding on the critical role of sustainable indigenous diets in improving nutrition security and controlling nutrition-related health problems in the continent. The event also aims to raise awareness amongst policy makers about the importance of traditional diets.

’’There is an urgent need to draw attention to traditional foods that are almost forgotten in preference to westernized diets that have invaded our food system”, said the AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, in his opening remarks. He called for interventions that should focus on locally available cultural food species, capacity development and networking, educational activities with youth, and use of media to counter erroneous local perceptions of local food qualities in order to sustain their production and consumption of local dishes. The AU Commissioner of Social Affairs also called upon researchers to undertake a comparative audit of Africa’s indigenous diets, including their nutritional values across regions.

For his part, the EU Head of Delegation in the DRC reaffirmed the strategic importance of combating hunger and malnutrition to support the socio-economic development of Africa. Growing import food bills, reaching 40 billion per year, is a call for strengthening domestic food systems.

Speaking on behalf of the UN system, the FAO Representative in DRC, Mr. Ndiaga Gueye, stressed the catalytic role of the Agriculture sector as an engine of growth for economic development.

“With the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) planning to be held from November 17th to 19th, tackling malnutrition through a revitalized family farm sector is a priority and, in this regard; the consumption of indigenous diets should be seen as a sustainable pathway to improve the well-being and health of African population”, he emphasized.

This year, the celebration of the African year of Agriculture and Food Security happens alongside the UN International Year of Family Farming. Family farmers - small-scale farmers, pastoralist families and fisher folk, among other groups - are the main food producers in most countries. And they can do even more with the right kind of support.


For further information on the links :






Gilles Eric FOADEY | (+243) 903 346 015 et (+278) 35 559 696 | Email: [email protected]

Xavier FARHAY | Chargé de Communication |  (+243) 998 087 535 et  (+243) 824 158 265 | Email: [email protected]

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