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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

FAO Director-General meets with Mozambique’s Health Minister

“Good nutrition is fundamental for development” – Minister Jaime

FAO Director-General and Mozambique's Minister of Health

21 November 2014, Rome – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today met today with Mozambique’s Minister for Health, Alexandre Lourenço Jaime, who was in Rome to attend the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) taking place this week.

The Minister congratulated FAO Director-General for the organization of the ICN2. “He brings together for the first time ever, different actors involved in the fight against malnutrition,” the Minister noted.

The ICN2 is an inclusive inter-governmental meeting on nutrition jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The two main outcome documents of the conference are the Rome Declaration on Nutrition: a political commitment document, and the Framework for Action: a set of recommendations to be implemented according to local contexts.

In remarks after the meeting, the Minister highlighted that often nutritional problems have to do with the “lack of knowledge on how to combine and cook the food” rather than with the lack of availability.

In that regard, Minister Jaime stressed how the joint efforts of the educational, health and agricultural sectors, along with others, will help countries like Mozambique eradicate the various forms of malnutrition.

Research is key

“Research is key to assess the available resources which can alleviate the problem of malnutrition,” he said citing the potential of moringa for the country. The Minister explained how moringa, a plant native to parts of Africa and rich in micronutrients and vitamins “should be promoted as a key element to improve nutrition for Mozambicans.”

Graziano da Silva frequently champions the greater use of foods beyond the major commodity crops, as they often have more nutritional value and may offer a way to boost local resilience during an era of expected climate change.

The Minister also underlined that nutrition is fundamental to secure healthy children who can fully develop both physically and mentally. “We need healthy children for our country to develop,” the Minister stressed.

Progress against hunger and malnutrition

FAO’s Director-General acknowledged the efforts that the country is making in fighting chronic undernutrition through the implementation of the Multisectorial Action Plan for the Reduction of Chronic Undernutrition in Mozambique (PAMRDC).

FAO’s support to the country

The Minister noted how FAO offers support through its “vast experience and knowledge across the world”. “It can also bring together countries, as shown by the ICN2, in order to work to find common solutions for a better world for all”, he added.

The minister noted that experiments in other countries can offer insight. Ireland once endured nutritional challenges similar to those Mozambique faces today but overcame them, he said. “Brazil is still experiencing problems but is improving, and that’s a good example for us to look at.”