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FAO in Mozambique

FAO and WFP expose food (in)security in SADC

C. Camarada (FAO, left) and A. Baldé (PMA) talking to journalists in Maputo

On Friday (19/09) the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) presented the results of the annual report on "The State of Food Insecurity in the World" (SOFI 2014) and what they mean for the Southern African region.

Together with WFP’s National Director, Abdoulaye Baldé, FAO Representative in Mozambique, Castro Camarada, talked per videoconferenece with colleagues from both agencies in Rome, Italy, and the offices in Ghana, Zimbabwe and Malawi as well as with journalists in Maputo and Harare.

According to the report, launched last Tuesday (16/09), in Rome, by FAO, WFP, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the global prevalence of chronic undernutrition has fallen. "However", FAO Subregional Coordinator for Southern Africa, David Phiri, said "214 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa remain chronically undernourished".

Political commitments are crucial to reach food security

Countries like Angola, South Africa, Malawi and Mauritius have reached the 1c target of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) which aims at halving the proportion of people affected by hunger.

With regard to Mozambique, Camarada said during the videoconference, "the country has conditions to guarantee an ongoing progress towards food security". The delay in the subregion, Phiri added, can be attributed to factors like "conflict, natural disasters and issues around food availability".

High-level political commitments with food security and nutrition as priorities are a fundamental requirement for eradicating hunger. African leaders have already made one such commitment – namely to eradicate hunger in the continent until 2025 – at the African Union Summit in Equatorial Guinea’s capital, Malabo.

Food (in)security in Mozambique

"Despite progress made in Mozambique", Castro Camarada maintained, "it is necessary to keep joint efforts between the Government and civil society in the sense of diversifying nutrition, among other priorities". WFP’s Director, Abdoulaye Baldé, in turned warned about the "need to provide the youth with more stable and attractive jobs outside the sector of natural resources".

Mozambique has already recognized the importance of achieving food and nutrition security: the Government created institutions like the Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN) and made commitments through its five-year plan and the second phase of the Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA II). Particularly objective 1 of "increasing productivity and production in agriculture and fisheries" and objective 3 which includes "improving nutrition for women, children, and other vulnerable groups" reflect political will in this direction. 

Challenges remain in the country

Mozambique has made some progress regarding the prevalence of undernutrition and inadequate nutrition over the last years, with rates falling from 41 and 49 percent in 2000 to 27 and 35 percent in 2014, respectively. Nevertheless, FAO’s Representative Camarada reminded that "the country still faces the challenge of chronic undernutrition which in 2014 still affects 43 percent of children under five".