Source: African Development Bank Group
To mark World Food Day 2020, we share a message from African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) Champion H.E. Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar who reflects on the challenges of his own country in fighting hunger and malnutrition. President Rajoelina also emphasises the need for united action to combat stunting.
The ALN Secretariat is hosted by the Bank to foster opportunities for high-level engagement to drive policy changes in Africa.
President’s Tribute for World Food Day
On the occasion of World Food Day, I am happy and proud to be alongside the African Development Bank and its President Akinwumi Adesina to continue my commitment against famine and malnutrition. All of Madagascar is part of the theme of this day: “Grow, Nourish, Sustain, Together: Acting for the Future”.
In Madagascar, malnutrition is a crucial issue. In the south of the country, in the region of Anosy where recent extreme droughts have taken their toll, nearly 35% of children are stunted, and more than 10% of them are acutely malnourished. Chronic malnutrition puts their lives and development at risk. No nation should tolerate this. With 256 million Africans affected, our continent’s leaders cannot stand idly by.
Last February, at the 33rd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Addis Ababa, the African Development Bank honored me with the title of Champion for the Fight against Malnutrition. This award is an encouragement to continue the efforts and initiatives we are undertaking in Madagascar.
Since the beginning of my mandate, I have been fully committed to the fight against malnutrition, which is hitting my country hard. The fight against this plague requires high-level leadership to treat both the symptoms and the causes.
Thus, regarding access to drinking water, I have announced the installation of pipelines and drilling systems, with the support of the African Development Bank, to bring drinking water to the localities affected by the drought.
We are setting up four intensive nutritional and medical rehabilitation centers in each of our southern districts, which will be responsible for distributing moringa and spirulina-based food supplements and providing treatment. Our action continues day after day, without respite. On October 3, I visited the region to evaluate the care mission initiated a few months ago by the Ministry of Public Health and the World Food Program to enable children and adults with symptoms of severe malnutrition to receive nutritional treatment. This is an opportunity to distribute food supplements and additional provisions.
In addition to the emergency, we are aiming for the long term. This is why we have signed a partnership agreement with Nutriset and Fondation Mérieux to set up a plant for the production of nutritional solutions against malnutrition in Fort Dauphin. We will produce and distribute 600 tons of healthy and nutritious food solutions every year.
On October 5, I inaugurated the Chamber of Agriculture of the Androy region, a platform for exchanges bringing together family farmers’ cooperatives, which will help improve the quality of our agricultural production. It is indeed essential to achieve food self-sufficiency. These measures materialize the alliance concluded between the government and the Malagasy population against hunger.
More than ever, the fight against hunger is a global priority. Tens of millions of people are affected by famine, and this number is expected to increase with the Covid-19 global health crisis. It is a current evil, as evidenced by the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded this year to the United Nations World Food Programme. For this, together, States, international organizations and institutions, NGOs, companies and major donors, must commit themselves to a large-scale common action.
The right to healthy, nutritious, accessible and affordable food must become an inalienable principle of human rights!
President of the Republic of Madagascar