he National Department of Agriculture and Livestock supports a nutrition programme aimed at creating a healthy growers population in rural Papua New Guinea.
The Coffee Industry Corporation recently launched a nutrition component of its Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (coffee component) on April 27.
The Department of Agriculture and Livestock was represented at the launched by Director of Policy and Planning John Kendiga.He congratulated the CIC-PPAP team headed by project manager Potaisa Hombunaka to put together this programme.
“The National Department of Health is very supportive of this kind of programme.”Kendiga also said the National Goals and Directive Principles and Vision 2015 address nutrition but sadly after 40 plus years PNG is still struggling in this area.
The Chief Executive Officer of CIC Charles Dambui said a healthy growers’ population is equally important to increase coffee production.
“We can talk about increasing coffee yield with improved quality but a healthy and able grower can make this happen.”
“Like all other cash crops, cultivation of coffee is labour intensive.Increase income in coffee requires efficient and active labour.”“Labour productivity reflects healthy population and increase income.”
“Our rural farming communities need interventions that are important in their lifestyle patterns.”Parties to the agreement were Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority (EHPHA) and Coffee Industry Corporation through PPAP.
The nutrition component will involve training of community-based health officers from to train rural people mostly women or mothers on nutrition on how to prepare and a balance meal for their families.The EHPHA will undertake this important initiative in four districts namely Obura-Wanenara,Henganofi, Okapa and Daulo using the PPAP modality by engaging EHPHA under a public-private alliance or partnership arrangement to work with the communities to take ownership.
The provincial health authority CEO Dr Joseph Apa said the provincial government has a duty to ensure that lives and rights of children,women and men in the communities are protected and served.
“For many children and mothers in PNG this right is yet to be realized.”
“Malnutrition has crippled our society and ability to create a productive workforce for decades. Almost half of all children under five years of age are classified as stunted.”“More than 10 per cent are wasted.
There is evidence of iodine deficiency in remote parts of Eastern Highlands. Malnutrition is a serious problem and possess threat to future development of the Province.”Dr Apa added: “PPAP has provided a perfect opportunity to reach beyond communities where other sectors cannot reach the population,it is a challenge and we are accountable to extend and expand the delivery of this community nutrition intervention to the hard to reach population and most deprived areas using this delivery mechanism.
Time has now come for a change for the better of our children and future.”The World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development(IFAD) financiers of coffee rehabilitation effort is funding this nutrition component withK500,000.
The World Bank PNG office agriculture specialist Allan Oliver was excited to witness the occasion and explained its significance.
“When we talk about food security we must also address the nutrition aspects where malnutrition and lifestyle diseases is a cause for concern in the country.”
Oliver also explained that malnutrition and poverty have a direct link where the latter is the main and principal cause of malnutrition.It was revealed during the launching that about 700,000 people in the country are affected by lifestyle diseases. The following revelations were also made at the launch:
- Nutrition is important for healthy and brighter children.
- For pregnant mothers nutrition starts from conception to growth of children.
- Children between 0-5 years must have proper balance meals.
- Lifestyle diseases affects people at old age.
- The increase in lifestyle diseases is a reflection of peoples pending money on wrong things and not on quality food.
- Food and nutrition are basic human rights.
- The health department can’t do it alone. A multi sectoral approach is necessary.
- Water, sanitation and hygiene are equally important factors in nutrition programmes.In terms of food consumption and production, many people in PNG are concentrating too much on volumes in terms. Producing the right type of food is equally important as food security.
The women folk is the entry point to addressing nutrition issues under this programme.Thereby a good representation from women groups including the Susu Mamas at the launch.