Pelum Zimbabwe to host multi-sectoral dialogue to address Zimbabwe’s malnutrition challenges

By Wallace Mawire

PELUM-ZWE Country Director; Getrude Pswarayi-Jabson
PELUM-ZWE Country Director; Getrude Pswarayi-Jabson

The Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Zimbabwe in partnership with the Seed and Knowledge Initiative (SKI) will convene a multi-sectorial dialogue on seed, health and nutrition to allow key stakeholders to collectively address malnutrition challenges faced by Zimbabwe. The multi-sectorial dialogue, the first of its kind, will be held on 20 September 2018 at Fambidzanai Permaculture Centre in Mt Hampden.It also seeks to get nutrition commitments
cemented into multi-sectoral plans and strategies, according to a

Malnutrition is a global challenge threatening the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The 2017 Global Nutrition Report notes that 2 billion people lack key micronutrients, 155 million children are stunted, 52 million children are wasted, 2 billion adults are overweight or obese and 41 million children are overweight (Global Nutrition Report, 2017).

Zimbabwe faces a growing level of chronic malnutrition and its worst manifestation is stunting which affects 32% of children in the country. A typical diet in Zimbabwe is deficient in Vitamins and minerals required for health, development and survival (National Micronutrient Survey, 2012).

The Country Coordinator for PELUM Zimbabwe, Mrs Gertrude Pswarayi-Jabson says, “Zimbabwe’s efforts to curb malnutrition still need much more attention. The country’s food system needs to be addressed because the malnutrition problem is taking place within the struggle between two alternative visions of food and nutrition.

The first is a model of large-scale industrial agriculture that aims to maximise short-term productivity based on technical solutions. The second is a vision of small-scale sustainable farming and diversified agroecological systems based on the fundamental human right to adequate food and nutrition and based on the use of ecological sound practices, agricultural biodiversity and local knowledge development.”

“Understanding the challenge of malnutrition in all its forms requires a holistic and multidisciplinary analysis, one that combines the political and technical perspectives. Above all, it requires recognising the need for urgency and justice, the appreciation for diversity and the values of human dignity, equity, sustainability and sovereignty. These are issues that remain at the periphery of policy discussion and formulation and why this Dialogue matters most,” says Pswarayi-Jabson.

PELUM Zimbabwe is a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working with smallholder farmers practicing diversified agro-ecological farming for improved livelihoods. SKI is a regional initiative aimed at reviving and enhancing traditional seed and knowledge systems and to deepen understanding about their functions,
within the context of supportive agricultural, cultural and ecological practices.

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