From: Ali Abare, Gombe
The Gombe State Government has launched its own food policy as well as a 5-year ‘costed workplan’ to achieve food security and tackle malnutrition.
The plan of action on food and nutrition is expected to cost the state over N3.6 billion in five years from 2016-17.
Commissioner for Economic Planning in the state, Alhaji Danladi Mohammed Fantami, while unveiling the documents, on Tuesday, in Gombe, said the exercise was in line with the reviewed National Policy on Food and Nutrition.
He said that the state nutrition policy was built on a strategic framework as provided by the national policy aimed at addressing specific problems of malnutrition and hunger.
He explained that the food and nutrition plan would take a comprehensive approach to address issues related to malnutrition in Gombe State.
Recall that the National Demographic Health Survey 2013 revealed a high stunting levels of over 40 percent of children in the state with 17.3 percent showing severe stunting all as a result of hunger.
“The food policy serves as a document to provide the necessary framework for addressing problems of food and nutrition in the state,” he said.
On the costed workplan expected to have taken off last year and to terminate by 2021, the comissioner said the plan has the goal of reducing the number of people in the state afflicted by hunger to 25 percent.
“It is a multi-sectoral plan that requires joint implementation by various ministries and parastatals as well as the involvement of private sector players and CSOs,” Pantami explained.
Pantami earlier, in a welcome address, noted that malnutrition remains a challenge capable of drawing back the development strides of the Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo administration.
He commended development partners in the state for their support, “particularly Save the Children International who provided the technical and financial resources for the production of the document.”
He tasked Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as stakeholders to ensure that the two policies are fully implemented.
“The goal of the food and nutrition policy is to attain optimal nutritional status for people of Gombe State, with particular emphasis on the most vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, women, elderly and groups with special nutritional needs,” Fantami further explained.
In a goodwill message, Mrs. Emily Madina of the Centre for Integrated Health Programme, lauded the state government for the initiative.
She, however, restated the significance of fully implementing the project with a view to addressing hunget and malnutrition in the state.
“We can have the best policy but as long as we fail to implement it, we cannot expect the desired outcome,” she said.
The policy documents were then officially presented to the participating MDAs, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media, with the state commissioner of economic planning urging for optimal cooperation for the initiative to.succeed.