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King vows to end malnutrition



MASERU – KING Letsie III says Lesotho takes seriously its goal of ending malnutrition .

The king was speaking at the High-Level Forum on Nutrition Financing held in Maseru last week where he hosted leaders from across the continent.

He was speaking in his capacity as the African Union Champion on Nutrition for the term 2022-2024.

King Letsie III said Lesotho “takes seriously the continental decisions to prioritise nutrition in their economic and social development programmes”.

To show his office’s commitment, King Letsie III said the government led by Prime Minister Samuel Matekane had added the term “nutrition” to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

“Lesotho will ensure that nutrition programmes and activities get sufficient attention in the planning and budgeting processes of the ministry,” the king said.

He said Lesotho is embarking on the establishment and revival of nutrition plans at the community level.

“Extension workers conduct training for nutrition clubs through nutrition, education and demonstrations on production, storage, processing and preparation of food,” he said.

He said nutrition clubs receive training in basic administration, business skills development and marketing.

He said under the school feeding programme, “the country is promoting the concept of home growth spoon-feeding as well as encouraging schools to produce their own fruits and vegetables in the school governance to supplement the meals provided by the government”.

Speaking at the same occasion, Matekane said nutrition is core to health, well-being, and economic development of this continent.

“We can all agree that we can no longer look at nutrition as an issue of food production, yet it involves every sector within the cycle of food systems, that is, from farm to fork,” Matekane, a successful farmer himself, said.

“This cycle of food system highlights the importance of all stakeholders and partners on both their contribution and benefits,” he said.

“We can all attest to the fact that, the loss of time and income due to ill-health, mental and physical under-development and non-communicable diseases affects the private sector just as it does the economic development of individuals, families, countries and the continent at large.”

Matekane said in an effort to contribute to the continental efforts, Lesotho decided to keep the nutrition coordinating body, the Food and Nutrition Coordination Office in the Office of the Prime

Minister to track food and nutrition programmes carried out by implementing agencies.

He said the Senate took a decisive step to form a Health and Nutrition Portfolio Committee while in the Lower House’s all portfolio committees are dedicated to supporting food and nutrition initiatives.

“The government is engaged in various food and nutrition initiatives that are meant to address malnutrition at grassroots level,” he said.

“Most food and nutrition initiatives in this country are undertaken with the support of development partners, donors and civil society organisations.”

He said he will ensure that the private sector takes its rightful spot in the fight against malnutrition.

“Let us join hands as governments, legislature and the private sector in combating the effects of malnutrition across the African continent,” Matekane said.

“Let us also remember that coordination, collaboration and multi-sectoral approach are key in achieving better results for all Africans.”

Mpolai Makhetha & Relebohile Tšepe

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