Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism has underscored the private sector’s role to enhance nutrition, saying businesses possess innovation and creativity the country needs to tackle malnutrition.
Speaking on Wednesday in Blantyre during the launch of newly-formed Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network Malawi Chapter, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism Francis Kasaila said it is pleasing to see businesses joining efforts to curb malnutrition.
He said the initiative will create a productive workforce, which is important for businesses while also creating opportunities for businesses and communities that come with nutritious products.
“Malnutrition is a huge challenge in Malawi where almost 40 percent of the population is being affected. As such, the issue requires all of us to deal with it.
“We are thus delighted that the business community is taking the initiative to deal with malnutrition in the social and business aspect,” he said.
On his part, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) chief executive officer Chancellor Kaferapanjira said the private sector lobby group will work towards linking businesses with policy and technical coordination structures that are working towards improved nutrition in Malawi.
He noted that for decades, various stakeholders, excluding businesses have worked hard to end malnutrition, but the problem still prevails and remains a challenge.
“Businesses will thus develop the nutritious products we need and take the products to the people all over the country.
“We will create the awareness among consumers and create the demand for nutritious foods, promote value and supply chains through financing, technical assistance and improved storage and make the products available and affordable for all,” he said.
SUN Business Network chairperson Oswald Bwemba said they understand that businesses thrive when they operate in healthy communities; hence, the efforts to scaleup nutrition to build greater business engagement in nutrition among all stakeholders.
Globally, the nutritional status of world population remains critical with figures showing that about 870 million people are still undernourished.
Meanwhile, a recent report by the Department of Nutrition titled Cost of Hunger states that Malawi is losing about 10 percent of its gross domestic product because of the toll under nutrition is having on sectors such as health and education.