Agriculture minister Matthew Walter

Agriculture minister Matthew Walter

Dominica’s Agriculture Minister, Matthew Walter, has said that an integrated action plan and complimentary interventions in agriculture and sustainable food systems is what is required to address the issue of malnutrition.

The Minister’s suggestion came in a national address as Dominica joined the rest of the International community on Wednesday October 16, 2013 in observing “World Food Day”.

“The immediate and root causes of malnutrition are complex and encompass the broader economic, social, political, cultural and physical environment. Addressing malnutrition, therefore, requires integrated action and complimentary interventions in agriculture and the food system, in natural resource management, in public health and education and in broader policy domains,” he said.

This year “World Food Day” is being celebrated under the theme: “Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition”. The theme was chosen to highlight the fact the “Healthy people depend on Healthy Food Systems”.

In speaking on the importance of “Sustainable Food Systems” the Minister highlighted the need for it to be central to the provision of nutritious diets for all.

“A diverse diet containing balanced amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, fats and oils, legumes, and animal source foods, is likely to provide the full range of nutrients needed by most people to lead healthy and active lives,” he pointed out.

The Minister said his Ministry is aware of the contributions to be made by the Food System in addressing the nutrition and health of Dominicans.

He emphasized this point by sharing some recent undertakings by Government.

“In 2007, Dominica joined the rest of the CARICOM region in endorsing the Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy in October 2010, followed by the Plan of Action in 2011,” he stated.

This he said “was in keeping with a renewed approach by CARICOM in response to the economic shocks brought about by the global recession in 2007, the food and energy crisis in 2007-2008 and a rapidly increasing regional food import bill estimated at US$3.5 billion in 2008”.

Walter said his Ministry remains concerned about the impact of these developments and will continue to work steadfastly towards the enhancement of national food and nutrition security and the development of sustainable food systems.