The governor of the western Mozambican province of Tete, Paulo Auade, on Monday launched the “Linking Agriculture to Nutrition” project, an initiative intended to reduce the high rate of chronic malnutrition in the project.
Auade said the government is concerned with the rate of malnutrition, which he regarded as making no sense in a province which is self-sufficient in agricultural production.
“The results remain poor, since the reduction in malnutrition remains very slow”, said Auade. “So we are urging our cooperation partners to adopt evidence-based participatory strategies, covering households that are vulnerable to malnutrition, especially those that are headed by women or by children, or in remote areas without access to health units.
He added that the statistics from the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture and Food Security show that Tete is self-sufficient in grain, and is one of the country’s major livestock producers.
Furthermore, per capita consumption of fisheries produce in Tete is near the ideal figure of 18 kilos per person per year (doubtless due to the fishing industry on Cahora Bassa lake).
Yet despite this, “both acute and chronic malnutrition remain at levels much above those regarded as acceptable by the World Health Organisation (WHO)”, said Auade, and this had serious impacts on the human capital of the province.
The results of the Demographic and Health Survey of 2011 showed a rate of chronic malnutrition of 44.2 per cent. The figures from the family budget survey of 2014/15 showed this had only fallen by one per cent, to 43.2 per cent.
The same two surveys showed a barely significant fall in acute malnutrition among children in Tete from six per cent in 2011 to 5.7 per cent in 2014/15.
The fight against malnutrition, said Auade, must involve the establishment of sectoral synergies and an overall approach, given that the causes of the situation are multiple and complex.