EU and FAO underline support for nutrition and food security in Malawi

EU and FAO underline support for nutrition and food security in Malawi

05/03/2013

During a high level visit to Malawi, EU Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, and José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), met today with President Joyce Banda to discuss the country's challenges on nutrition and food security, and to underline ongoing EU and FAO support in this area.

Malawi has made progress in the fight against hunger but malnutrition remains endemic in the country, with over 47 percent of children suffering from stunting (when growth is held back due to a lack of access to nutritious food). This affects their development and it also causes increased vulnerability to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said: "The EU and the FAO share the same vision on nutrition and food security, and we will work together to help Malawi, and all of sub-Saharan Africa, tackle this problem. That is why I have announced my commitment to reducing the number of children who are stunted in the world by at least 7 million by 2025 and I am fully committed to make this pledge a reality."

Graziano da Silva, said: "Malawi has committed itself at the highest level to ending hunger and extreme poverty. It recognizes the right to food, invests in excess of 10 percent of its national budget in agriculture, and has transformed itself from an importer into an exporter of maize. The result is that Malawi is on track to meet the Millennium Development hunger target.

"FAO will continue to support the government's efforts in promoting food security and nutrition and tackling extreme poverty through an integrated and coordinated approach, involving social protection and other sectors that contribute to these goals," the Director-General added.

During several meetings to be held with Malawian ministers and authorities, Commissioner Piebalgs and Director-General Graziano da Silva were expected to stress the importance of efficient and effective coordination mechanisms between the different ministries in order to ensure food security.

They will visit a series of EU projects, including food security and agricultural centres, as well as a grain storage facility funded by FAO. They will also meet with representatives from the private sector, where they will also discuss the importance of investing in agriculture, which employs 87 percent of the population and accounts for about 36 percent of GDP, as well as for more than 70 percent of export revenues.