Kasungu district commissioner (DC) James Kanyangalazi says despite the district making progress in increasing agricultural production in recent years, the gains have not translated into utilisation of nutritious diets.
The DC said the challenges are worsened by inadequate access to hygiene and sanitation in some areas.
Kanyangalazi said this last week at Lisasadzi Extension Planning Area when King Letsie III of Lesotho, who is also Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) special ambassador for nutrition, toured various nutrition agricultural interventions in the district.
Said the DC: “While the rate of chronic under-nutrition [stunting] among children under the age of five years has reduced over the years [47.2 percent in 2010 to 36.3 percent in 2017], the current state of undernutrition is still very high and unsatisfactory. About 94.7 percent of children between 6 and 23 months do not meet minimum acceptable diet. The prevalence of anaemia in children aged 6-59 months is equally high at 60 per cent.”
School health and nutrition coordinator Florence Kasiya said the country needs a food system that contributes to growth in education sector and structural transformation.
She said, “We want to see a more nutrition-sensitive agriculture system and livelihood strategy for the district that translates into well-nourished and productive citizens, feeding its growing population.”
During the tour, King Letsie III interacted with various local authorities to understand better how policies and national programmes are supporting nutrition-related work to improve opportunities for vulnerable households in rural areas.