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Re: From economic growth to food security and better nutrition

Mr. Adetunji Olajide Falana Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria
31.10.2012
Adetunji Olajide

Dear Moderator

Thank you for the wonderful work. This new topic is actually long awaited and I sincerely appreciate the initiators.

To address the first question, I want to believe that experiences abound in most developed countries where social protection or security have enhanced better food security based on a sound Government policies. Social protection can be viewed from creating a functional market for local produces by government and thereby create unrestricted demand. This definitely leads to local growth of the economic that will boost food security and better nutrition. Secondly, the provision of social security as it is being implemented in some countries, where monthly allowance are given for sustenance have direct impact on food security at household level and could influence better nutrition. Another way that social security can be viewed from is price control and regulation. When there is little variability in the price of essential household commodities, then, food security and better nutrition can be guaranteed.

However, in contrast, most developing countries where social security or protection in form of functional market and price control of essential household commodities are virtually absent, then, the promotion of Sustainable Livelihood model should be encouraged and extensively promoted. This should be backed with micro-finance support which should be in agreement with household asset analysis. Also, the need for monitoring should be encouraged. If these can be put in place, the bases for economic growth would have been established which would invariably have direct bearing on better nutrition.    

It has been noted in most developing countries that agriculture policies are only explicit on food security and little or nothing is know about nutrition component and how food security and surplus will be integrated to have direct impact on nutrition security. However, presently in Nigeria, effort is being gearing towards integrating most agriculture policies with nutrition programmes so that, food security will actually have direct bearing on nutrition security.         

Putting nutrition on political priorities  continues to be an important national and international debate. But sincerely, I looked at this issues as much ado about nothing. Why? There are enough data and evidence that good nutrition is very important from conception utill death if dignity of humanity is to be preserved. But looking at most under-developed and developing countries where the buck of malnourished children are concentrated, the leaders are also malnourished intellectually.

A lot of advocacy had gone down the drain without significant improvement in the health and nutrition status. Several methodologies have been used to advocate, sensitize and create awareness on the significant of nutrition to national development, but these have yielded little result.

The overall solution is to empower the populace rather than the political class on the WHY nutrition should be treated as a developmental agenda by any government in power and making sure that appropriately LAW, regulation, policies and guidelines developed are followed and implemented by such government. Voting right people in the position of authority is also very key.  
 
Falana, Adetunji Olajide
Nutrition Division
Dept of Family Health,10th Floor
Federal Ministry of Health
Federal secretariat Complex
Phase III
Abuja