Invest in nutrition, King urges
HIS Majesty King Letsie III, has said country stands to save M2.86 billion by 2025 if it invests in better nutrition for children.
His Majesty said this at the launch of the Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report in Maseru. King Letsie III is the African Union Nutrition Champion and Special Ambassador for Nutrition of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
He said the Cost of Hunger Lesotho study of 2016 shows that in 2014, malnutrition cost the country 7.4 percent of its GDP hence it was important to tackle the scourge to ensure sustainable development.
The king said the Zero Hunger Strategic Report for Lesotho maps a new plan to help Basotho eradicate hunger and malnutrition by 2030.
“Malnutrition is not just a health problem but a multisectoral problem that seriously threatens the prospects for future economic growth and development in the country,” His Majesty said.
“Lesotho is reaffirming its commitment to achieving the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development goals (SDGs).”
His Majesty added that the eradication of hunger in all its forms was now a global agenda, as stipulated in the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
SDG 2 calls for all United Nations member states to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030”.
Speaking at the same event, World Food Programme Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro, said malnutrition was an outcome of poverty and inequality and in a country like Lesotho, investing in nutrition was imperative.
“Zero Hunger Strategic review identifies priority actions to achieve zero hunger and stop all forms of malnutrition in Lesotho,” Ms Castro said.
She acknowledged His Majesty’s contribution through his advocacy and leadership on food and nutrition security in the word.
The Zero Hunger Strategic Report states that Lesotho has adopted and domesticated the Zero Hunger Strategic agenda, however, the country continues to face dire challenges in meeting the 2030 agenda for the eradication of poverty and malnutrition amongst its people.
It is against this backdrop that the office of the Prime Minister and the Food and Nutrition Coordinating Office, have undertaken a comprehensive countrywide perspective on the Zero Hunger Challenge Strategic Review.
This is being done in partnership with three United Nations agencies: World Food Programme (WFP), FAO and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The review defines the food and nutrition situation in Lesotho, consolidates progress by national food and nutrition policies and programmes, identifies gaps in the response, and proposes priority actions required to accelerate the target of no hunger in Lesotho by 2030.
The report further notes that achieving zero hunger requires integrated approaches that respond to the multiple causes of hunger and malnutrition.