National and provincial policy makers and administrators, in total over 60 participants, met in Phnom Penh to discuss advancement of food security and nutrition in Cambodia.
An economic assessment from 2013 estimated that malnutrition could cost 250 million to 400 million USD every year if nothing was done to prevent malnutrition in Cambodia (CARD/UNICEF/WFP).
Good progress in reducing number of extreme hunger and malnutrition people was reported. But much remains to be addressed to support the poor and vulnerable groups, a key summary point reached at the Policy Dialogue held on 20 April 2017
The Policy Dialogue aimed at exchanging information on status and policy strategies in food security and nutrition in Cambodia. As result, it came up with recommendations to promote greater collaboration among government agencies as well as partnership with other stakeholders in achieving greater food security and nutrition in Cambodia.
H.E. Dr. Sok Silo, Deputy Secretary General of Council for Agriculture and Rural Development (CARD) said: “Food security and nutrition efforts in Cambodia is guided by the National Strategy on Food Security and Nutrition (2014-2018), which envisions that all Cambodians should have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food, at all times to meet their dietary needs and food preferences and optimize the utilization of this food for a healthy and productive life.
“Stunted children as well as pregnant women are highly malnourished. The dietary diversity of Cambodians are very low and the challenge is not to leave anybody behind.”
H.E. Lao Sokharom, Secretary-General of CARD said: “Despite policies and strategies on food security and nutrition, various government agencies need to work together to synergize their efforts. In addition, engagement of private sectors, non-governmental organizations, farmers and other stakeholders will ensure that achieving food security and nutrition for all Cambodian people is feasible.”
Dr. Mak Soeun, Deputy Director General of General Directorate of Agriculture, MAFF and Delegate in the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Crops said: “Agriculture is an important sector and key driver for Food Security in Cambodia. Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) is not only the national agency responsible for agriculture development but also the national focal agency for ASEAN cooperation on food security and nutrition. The Ministry is determined in working towards reduction of poverty and increase the resilience of poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers in Cambodia. This is so that agriculture sector will continue to provide means of livelihoods to millions of farmers, and food security and nutrition to all Cambodians as well as contribute to economic development of the country.”
The Policy Dialogue also came up with important recommendations to pursue collaboration on food security and nutrition in Cambodia. These include wider sharing of food security and nutrition information, awareness raising on healthy diet and lifestyles, particularly in young generation, better alignment of collaboration and partnership with development organizations and donors.
The event is considered as part of ASEAN collaboration in implementing ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework endorsed by the ASEAN Leaders since 2009.