Agri. Minister wraps up Sustainable Food Systems Healthy Diets, Improved Nutrition Symposium in Rome

Ministry of Agriculture, Guyana, December 5, 2016 – Healthy diets can be achieved only if healthy foods are produced by adopting healthy and sustainable food systems, these were the sentiments expressed by Agriculture Minister, Hon. Noel Holder who was at the time addressing a gathering in Rome at the United Nation’s Symposium in Rome.

FAO Director-General Jose' Graziano da SIlva meeting with T.H. Noel Holder, Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Guyana, FAO headquarters.

FAO Director-General Jose’ Graziano da SIlva meeting with T.H. Noel Holder, Minister for Agriculture of the Republic of Guyana, FAO headquarters.

The Minister called for world leaders to better adapt to climate change, by understanding the impacts it has on food security.

“To achieve the goal of the United Nations on Nutrition, stakeholders need to urgently take concrete evidence based actions to situations….policy, investment and behavior shifts are much needed along the food chain,” the Minister said.

The United Nations Decade on Nutrition will run from 2016 to 2025 provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders to strengthen joint efforts towards eradicating hunger and preventing all forms of malnutrition worldwide.

According to Minister Holder, nutrition continues to be a central health, economic and sustainable development challenge for every region and if executed thoughtfully,  the potential to propagate a society-wide movement, leading to national policy change and ultimately to the end of all forms of malnutrition, can be realized.

The role of women in the food system remains a critical aspect, and according to the Agriculture Minister,  if there is to be a national policy change  equitable opportunities to earn and learn should be compatible with healthy and safe pregnancies and child feeding.

“nutrition challenges faced by Member States are complex, and their solutions require strong and sustained political leadership….consumers should also be empowered with improved nutrition information that influences their food choices, Holder said.

The Decade calls all Member States to act across six pillars for nutrition action based on the commitments of the Rome Declaration on Nutrition which are:-

  • Sustainable food systems for healthy diets
  • Aligned health systems providing universal coverage of essential nutrition actions
  • Social protection and nutrition education
  • Trade and investment for improved nutrition
  • Enabling food and breastfeeding environments and
  • Review, strengthen and promote nutrition governance and accountability

As Guyana strives to consolidate national food security, the Ministry of Agriculture has also begun preparation of its submission of a proposal for Grant funding from the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) to the tune of $US10 Million.

Once successful, the project will seek to increase rural agriculture output and secure exports of non-traditional agricultural products.

During the 2 day symposium, the Minister was accompanied by Dr. Deep Ford, Ambassador to the Swiss Confederation and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organs in Geneva and Dr. Mark Pierre, Agricultural Health and Food Specialist, Ministry of Agriculture.