Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, FAO Representative to Ghana
Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, FAO Representative to Ghana

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has lauded journalists for playing very fundamental roles in producing authentic nutrition information through their creative programmes to help educate the populace.

Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, FAO Representative to Ghana
Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, FAO Representative to Ghana

Dr Lamourdia Thiombiano, FAO Representative to Ghana said over the years, nutrition information had become abundant and easily available, as a result of the increased research and development of information and communication technology.

He said it was therefore important for journalists to be well equipped to report adequately information that would be useful for the population.

He said the information journalists provide through the mass media could help shape the landscape of nutrition, by getting the public and policy makers informed on health risks and the impacts of malnutrition on family economy and the country?s development.

Dr Thiombiano made these remarks on Friday in Accra during a media seminar on the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) to be held in Rome from November 19-21, 2014.

The day?s seminar under the auspices of the Ghana News Agency (GNA), the FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO), brought together over 25 journalists from both the private and public media in Ghana.

The first international conference on nutrition was held over 20 years ago, therefore ICN2 is expected to serve as an opportunity to review progress made towards reduction of malnutrition globally.

FAO estimates that 12.5 per cent of the world?s population; about 868 million people, is undernourished in terms of energy intake, but these values may only be a fraction of the global burden of under nutrition.

Dr Thiombiano said malnutrition is a serious public health challenge causing huge socio-economic losses in several countries.

According to the FAO the direct costs of undernutrition and micronutrient are estimated at two to three per cent of the global gross domestic product.

The Country Representative said despite all commendable efforts made, Sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the regions most affected, with hunger, poverty, food insecurity, weak health and social protection systems constituting the underlying causes of nutrition.

He noted that the groups mostly affected were children under five years of age and women of the reproductive age.

?But this continent is also full of potential and opportunities to feed its people with nutritious foods, high diversity of crops, livestock and fishes, high forest and savannah biodiversity and fauna, variety of recipes based on a wide range of cultures,? he said.

A statement read on behalf of the WHO Representative in Ghana by Mrs Akosua Kwakye, WHO Focal Person Programme Officer for Nutrition, said there was a need for greater policy coherence between food supply and public health to guarantee food and nutrition security for all, and put a halt to growing rates of obesity and the diseases it causes.

The WHO representative also commended the media for playing an extremely important role in terms of holding governments and global actors accountable, by reporting on whether commitments made were being met.

Professor Nana Essilfie-Conduah, a Member of the National Media Commission said: ?If there is one matter that instantly unites the world, it is food. Its influence is double edged ? it sobers and excites. Both characteristics have the quality each in its separate way to rapidly envelope everything.?

He urged journalists to start a new journey to shift the power of global, regional and national talking about agriculture and nutrition to actions, which would be remembered by posterity in Africa.

Dr Bernard Otabil, GNA Chief Executive Officer said realizing the critical role of agriculture in the nation?s socio-economic development, the Agency established the New Media Partnership for Accelerated Rural Development (NEMPARD).

He said NEMPARD reportage was focused on agriculture, health and education, adding that the Agency had created a network of journalists against hunger and malnutrition.

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