Reducing poverty and hunger through agriculture-led growth is central to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP). Improvements in agricultural production and productivity, and even in food security, do not automatically translate to improved nutritional outcomes, and can even have negative impacts on nutrition. As political commitment to nutrition is increasing, agriculture and food security interventions must be specifically designed to address hunger and malnutrition problems.
It is at this background that NEPAD’s Food and Nutrition Programme aims to accelerate actions and enhance policies towards improving diets, raising nutrition levels and ending hunger. The Programme undertakes studies, builds capacity for policy makers and programme experts across sectors and supports implementation. Its goal is to reduce hunger and malnutrition of the vulnerable populations focusing on evidence based policies and programmes.
To enhance and sustain the nutrition focused momentum within CAADP over the next decade, the food and nutrition programme seeks to build on and scale up programme activities around the following broad thematic areas, namely maternal and child nutrition, food fortification and bio-fortification, dietary diversity and home grown school feeding.
Also, including the following activities that are on-going;
• Conduct and promote Africa regional tracking of the nutrition situation and progress especially in relation to key initiatives such as Cost of Hunger Study in Africa (COHA) , Initiative for Food and Nutrition Security in Africa (IFNA),
• Promote collaboration on key nutrition capacity development and delivery initiatives in support of improved planning, implementation and progress such as the CAADP Nutrition Initiative; Pan African Parliament Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security;
• Inform relevant policy discussions at global, regional and national level.
Moreover, the programme plays a critical role of tracking progress on nutrition status and provide a platform for African countries to share lessons that are scalable to reinforce and leverage food and nutrition security training and research capacity on the continent.
A key rallying point for tracking progress on food and nutrition security is the declaration on Nutrition Security for Inclusive Economic Growth and Sustainable Development in Africa (Assembly/AU/Decl.4(XXIII), which was endorsed by African Heads of State and Government at their Summit in 2014 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
The declaration includes the following commitments:
• Reaffirmation of the commitment to end hunger by 2025 through strengthening of development policies as an effective investment in the human capital in countries;
• Commitment to ending child stunting bringing down stunting to 10% and underweight to 5% by 2025 and in particular, focusing on the first 1000 Days as the only window of opportunity during which permanent and irreversible physical and mental damage would be avoided; and
• Commitment to positioning this goal as a high-level objective in national development plans and strategies, and to establish long-term targets that give all children equal chance for success, by eliminating the additional barriers imposed by child under-nutrition.
To strengthen mutual accountability and achieve the Malabo declaration goals and targets, African Member States agreed to report biennially on implementation progress on the two declarations. The first biennial report was presented to the African Union Summit in January 2018.