Developing capacity for strengthening food security and nutrition

Raising awareness on coherent food security and nutrition approach in Tajikistan

12–14 March 2019 | Dushanbe, Tajikistan – A three-day high-level workshop to strengthen knowledge and skills of key government professionals and policy makers who are engaged in the design and implementation of national programs on food security and nutrition was held in the Republic of Tajikistan. The workshop was organised by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan in the framework of the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Movement and with the support of the Eurasian Center for Food Security of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.  The event included the specially developed training modules and working groups’ discussion that would help participants to learn about food security and nutrition concepts in accordance with accepted international standards and define interventions for improving the process of decision-making on policy issues and effective informing the public. It also aimed at improving monitoring and evaluation skills of technical staff to implement national programs.

Tajikistan achieved significant progress in promoting legal policies by adopting new programs and policies aimed at improving food security and nutrition. Among them are the National Development Strategy of Tajikistan for the period until 2030, the “Agriculture Reform Program of the Republic of Tajikistan for the period 2012-2020” and the law on “Food Security” of 2010.

“FAO has a continuing interest and a commitment to support the Government of Tajikistan to access and use the best possible source of information. Such events are crucial for raising awareness among policy makers in the agricultural sector, and be an opportunity for insightful information exchanges“, - said Oleg Guchgeldiyev, the FAO Representative in Tajikistan. - “Given the importance to food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture which are linked to Sustainable Development Goals, it is a priority for FAO to help ensure food security and nutrition through healthy food systems”.

“Food security and nutrition should be an integral component of strategies of the Republic of Tajikistan while using a comprehensive approach, since it improve the social and economic growth in the country. This will require a strengthened commitment of the Government to scale up food security and nutrition in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Thus, such an event is timely and relevant for finding the best solutions in conditions of climate change and ensuring the food security in the region and we in our turn can contribute by providing proposals, recommendations and decision-making”, said Bahadur Nazarov, Head of the Department of the Agricultural Policy and Food Security Monitoring of the Ministry of Agriculture of Tajikistan.

“In this training, I liked that the topic of food security is presented in a very deeply systematized form. For myself in food security, I learned not only about concepts as availability, accessibility, utilization, stability, but also familiarized myself with various techniques and awareness-raising practices, that I can recommend to specialists while developing modules and conducting trainings in my professional activity”, - expressed her impressions Zulfiya Abdurakhmanova, Deputy Director of the State Institution "Republican Nutrition Center".

Above 60 government officials and key experts attended this workshop. They represented the President’s Executive Office, the Food Security Committee, the Ministries of Tajikistan (Agriculture; Health and Social Protection of Population; Labour, Migration and Employment of Population; Economy Development and Trade; Energy and Water Resources), the State Agency for Statistics, the Tajik Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Tajik Agrarian University, as well as civil societies and international organizations (WFP, IOM, UNICEF, SUN Movement, GIZ and USAID, among others).

The event offered an opportunity to identify key actions and strategies to address current and future challenges to food safety and nutrition, review the existing national programs related to these topics. One of the key themes addressed during the workshop concerned that food systems need to keep pace with the way food is produced and consumed. This requires a sustained investment and coordination, multi-sectoral approaches for regulatory legislation, suitable laboratory capacities, and adequate disease surveillance and food monitoring programmes, all of which need to be supported by information technologies, shared information, training and education.

The attending policy makers expressed their enthusiasm about the chance of confronting through active debates with the aim of identifying the best solutions to achieve a sustainable agricultural development as well as an overall well-being of the country.  

This event was initiated under the FAO project “Developing Capacity for Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Selected Countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia”, funded by the Russian Federation. The project is to strategically mediate the challenges in the country and promote cross-sectoral collaboration by providing adequate capacity to effectively pursue and manage coherence between agriculture, nutrition, health, education and social protection sectors.