UAE fighting hard malnutrition issues: Minister

Dubai, Oct 15 (IANS/WAM) The United Arab Emirates' (UAE) Minister of Environment and Water Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad Tuesday said his government is making strenuous efforts to address malnutrition issues as part of its national food security strategy and human development.

"Under the UAE Vision 2021, the government will intensify its fight against lifestyle diseases, where early intervention to change habits can dramatically improve citizens' prospects for quality of life," Bin Fahd said in a statement he released to mark World Food Day which falls Oct 16 every year.

This year's theme for the World Food day is 'Sustainable Food Systems for Food Security and Nutrition'.

"The (UAE) government will also act tirelessly to eliminate diseases spread by inadequate public health and sanitation," the minister said.

He said that creating health food systems for healthy growth requires intensive collaboration from many stakeholders, including health and educational authorities along with civil society organisations, family and the media.

His ministry, he added, is primarily taking care of food safety through building sustainable agricultural and animal food systems.

He also outlined the ministry's diverse initiatives to handle food security, bio-security, food control, veterinary services, and the import and export of foodstuff.

The ministry's 2014-16 strategy, Bin Fahd said, would seek to improve food safety measures, strengthen bio-security and tighten food controls at inspection centres while raising the efficiency of laboratories and building professional capacities.

According to the UN Children's Fund, more than 165 million children under the age of five worldwide are permanently "stunted" from malnutrition, leaving them physically and intellectually weak leading to "a scandalous waste of human potential".

"We'll also need to ensure access to food all year round, to eliminate food wastage and child stunting while doubling smallholder production and profits," Food and Agriculture Organisation Director-General, Jose Graziano da Silva, said in his message for the World Food Day.




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