The East African Community is rolling out the periodical Food and Nutrition Security Bulletin which will be providing quarterly updates on the region’s food availability and how people can access the vital nutrition commodity.
That was revealed recently during the two-day workshop to validate the Draft East African Community Food and Nutrition Security Bulletin in Kampala, Uganda.
The EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki, said that the draft regional FNS bulletin specifically gives updates on the regional food security and nutrition status through analysis of food types and availability together with people’s access to quality food supplies within Partner States during the review period.
“To gauge the region’s level of food and nutrition security, the bulletin highlights data on children below five years regarding underweight, overweight and food wasting aspects,” he said.
According to Mathuki, the bulletin also unveils data of acute malnutrition on expectant or lactating mothers, disaster risk management approaches and policies on food and nutrition matters, macroeconomics dynamics and regional food starvation levels.
The Regional Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) Bulletin is a product of the five-year EAC Strategy and Action Plan on Food and Nutrition Security as adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2019.
The goal of the strategy was to guide the implementation and actualization of the regional food security objectives.
“The Strategy is designed to address prevailing gaps and challenges undermining food and nutrition security in the region by providing a unified multi-sectoral approach to implementation and coordination of food and nutrition security programs at national and regional level,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Also the bulletin would key to updating the Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security (SCAFS) of the East African Community on the food and nutrition security situation in the region.
“The Bulletin will be published quarterly with an up-to-date and detailed account of the food and nutrition security situation in the region. It is also important to note that it is now a requirement that the SCAFS must be regularly updated on the status of food and nutrition security in the region.
This is necessary to inform policy decisions on increasing access to quality, affordable, safe and nutritious food,” said the Secretary General.
The workshop, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Kenya and East Africa was meant to provide a platform for Partner States to verify the scope and content of the bulletin.
It also aimed at ensuring ownership of the information contained in the bulletin and deliberate and agreed on a sustainable mechanism for regular updating, production and dissemination of the Bulletin on quarterly basis.
The Chairperson of the workshop, Dr Désiré Ntakirutimana, underscored the importance of producing and sharing a finalized version of the Food and Nutrition Security Bulletin saying that the document would assist policy makers to make informed decisions.
Dr. Ntakkirutimana, who is also the Director of Animal Health in the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock in Burundi, said that the Bulletin should as much as possible, reflect the true situation of food and nutrition security in Partner States.