The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security has launched its Foresight Report for Africa titled ‘Food Systems and Diets: Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century’ as part of the 7th Africa Day For Food And Nutrition Security (ADFNS).
The 2016 ADFNS celebration is on the theme: ‘Investing in Food Systems for Improving Child Nutrition: Key to Africa’s Renaissance’.
The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition was established in August 2013 as an independent group of senior experts.
Its main aim is to provide guidance to decision-makers, particularly governments, and to inform and promote agricultural and food policies as well as investment for improved nutrition in low and middle-income countries.
The Global Panel is jointly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development.
Former Director of the Ghana Health Service and Chair for the Launch, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, kick-started the event by welcoming all present with a presentation on Scaling up Nutrition in Ghana.
Former Minister of Information, Education and Democracy, Rev. Dr Joyce Aryee came next with the opening address. The Director of the Global Panel, Professor Sandy Thomas, followed with a presentation on key findings gathered from the Foresight Report.
The Foresight Report outlines the toll that malnutrition takes on today’s individuals, nations and economies; and forecasts the expanding costs and consequences bound to be faced should these trends continue.
It also contains guidelines to aid governments and decision-makers in creating food systems that will promote health and deliver quality diets.
The Report further states the increase of malnutrition across Africa, predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa with a prediction of 216 million undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa by the year 2030, if the current trends are not reformed.
It also states that the number of stunted children under the age of five is rising by 500,000 every year; and names chronic malnutrition as one of the causes of nearly half of the child deaths occurring within sub-Saharan Africa in 2015.
According to the Report, investing in nutrition; especially for mothers, infants and children; will lead to enlarged gains since good nutrition in infants and children supports cognitive development and will equip them to grab economic opportunities in the labour market in the future.
The next segment was a Discussion and Q & A session facilitated by a four-member panel made up of Professor Thomas; Professor Akosa; the Assistant Director-General and Representative for Africa for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Bukar Tijani; and an Associate Professor with the University of Ghana’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Professor Matilda Steiner-Asiedu.
After an hour-long Discussion and Q & A session, the African Launch of the Global Panel’s Foresight Report was climaxed by the formal launching of the report, which was done by Rev. Dr Aryee. The former minister charged the press present and the African Union (AU) to massively share the knowledge revealed in the report in order to make it available to those who need it.
“The knowledge in this document must be implemented. It is not just one person’s role, but each individual’s responsibility to make sure that this knowledge is disseminated and used at all levels because we can no longer live with a crisis that can be resolved. We don’t have to have a nutritional crisis. What we need is a nutritional agenda that gives our people nourishing food.” she also said.
Find the full Foresight Report here
By: Akosua Ofewaa Opoku/citifmonline.com/Ghana