Monrovia - Liberia is a country heavily reliant on importation, even produce that can be grown in the country are brought from other countries; in an effort to break from this age-old problem, the government and its partners has developed a zero hunger strategic review report.
The report was on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 launched by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf at the Monrovia City Hall.
The Review provides a road map to the achievement of Zero Hunger in Liberia by 2030. The Zero Hunger is goal number two of the seventeen global Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations in September 2015.
Under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia has played a leading role in the development of seminal global and continental frameworks that have given prominence to food security and nutrition.
President Sirleaf Co- chaired the 27 member united Nations Secretary General’s High level panel on the post 2015 Agenda along with former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron.
President Sirleaf: “The resources and time you have put together has made it possible for me to launch this report."
"When Liberians, friends and partners combined their efforts in a common interest as was manifested in the many months that it took to complete the review, then our country is able to overcome development challenges including being able to improve the food security and nutritional status of all Liberians.”
President Sirleaf said the government has decided through this report to know where the country stands in its effort to tackle hunger and nutrition.
The Liberian leader stressed on the rational implementation of the home grown school feeding program.
President Sirleaf said, they will focus on food that is locally grown by smallholder farmers for the school feeding program.
The United Nations Secretary General Special Representative to Liberia Farid Zarif said ending hunger is an important element of the SDGs.
“If it is not Liberia, where should it be that we should launch this report?
This one of the most important elements of the Sustainable Development Goals, there is no challenge that indomitable if we master the political will and courage and make a commitment to pull our resources together and focus on the most pressing priorities ahead of us,” he said.
Zarif continued: “Zero in hunger requires, like Dr. Sawyer says, not just effort of the Ministry of Agriculture; this not just for the executive, this should involve every aspect of government, all civil society organizations and the people.”
The head of UNMIL pointed out that the adoption of the land rights as key to the implementation of the Zero hunger.
“This has been in the making forever, the vision was given by the President long time ago, the draft submitted and revisited many times; it’s now about time for the legislature to take action on it,” Zarif said.
The report highlighted key gaps that might hamper the achievement of the Zero Hunger by 2030.
The report states: “The national response has not yielded the results needed to ensure that Liberia makes substantive progress towards achieving Zero hunger by 2030 and sustaining it thereafter.
Key gaps identified in the national response are inadequate policy coherence and multi-sectoral coordination across the key food security and nutrition sector, low public sector resources flows, inadequate access to credit; insufficient coverage of social protection programs; crippling infrastructure deficit, poor climate for private sector investment, limited public awareness of good food security and nutrition practices, particularly in rural communities and insufficient focus on food production in the sector.”
The report continues that access to food by most Liberians is constrained by “high poverty rates” an under- performing labor market” (LISGIS 2010) and poor road conditions particularly in rural communities.
In 2015, food expenditures accounted for over 65 percent of total household, spending by a quarter of households in the country, while 41 percent of households did not have food or money to buy food the week before the Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA, 2015)
Food marketing is a principal pillar of food security in Liberia. Almost three quarters of rural households buy food, with just one fifth relying on their own production, while 94 percent of urban household purchase their food at the market. Liberians produce only one third of the rice, the staple they consume.
The prevalence of chronic malnutrition has decreased in the past decade in Liberia. However, it still remains high at 32 percent (LDHS 2013) by WHO thresholds. The prevalence of underweight is 14.7 percent among fewer than five children;
According to the report Achieving zero hunger by 2030 requires integrated multi-sectoral actions to address underlying causes that undermine and compromise proper perceptions, attitudes, behaviors, public policy, public and private sector investments and the modernization and expansion of activities along the food production and nutrition value chains.