21 November 2003, Rome/Ouagadougou
-- "Food-based approaches for a healthy
nutrition in West Africa*; the role of food technologists and
nutritionists" is the theme of an international
workshop to be held from 23 to 28 November 2003 in Ouagadougou,
The workshop is sponsored by
the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands), the University
of Ouagadougou, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD
- France) and FAO.
West African countries,
with a combined population of 226 million people, face major
challenges related to nutrition. Nearly thirty-five percent of
children under five years of age are stunted, a sign of a
chronically poor diet while about 5 to 15 % of young children
are wasted, a sign of acute hunger.
same time, overweight and obesity, which can lead to diabetes,
heart disease and some types of cancer, are emerging problems
among some urban populations in West Africa.
Deficiencies in vitamin A and iron are widespread in
West Africa and contribute to illnesses and high rates of child
mortality. Iodine deficiency is a public health concern as well.
Improving consumption of foods such as palm
oil, orange sweet potatoes, papaya, mangoes, citrus, green leafy
vegetables as well as oil crops, legumes, animals and fish can
prevent these nutritional problems, according to FAO.
The Ouagadougou workshop participants will
assess "food-based strategies" which mobilize
the agriculture, food technology and education/communication
sectors to promote the production, availability, access to, and
consumption of nutritious foods. They will analyze current
knowledge and identify future needs to promote food
FAO will present a paper
on food security and nutrition trends in West Africa and
challenges and opportunities for West African countries to meet
the goal of reducing malnutrition by one-half by 2015. The FAO
paper calls for the need to diversify and increase food
production and productivity.
Special Workshop Session on "Food-Based Actions: The
Role of Governments and their Development Partners"
will call for increased support for promising strategies, such
as appropriate food storage, processing and preservation
techniques and better distribution and marketing.
* FAO definition of West Africa includes Benin,
Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana,
Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger,
Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
Media Relations Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570