European Commission grants 6 million euros to promote food and nutrition security in Congo
Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, February 24, 2009 - According to several national surveys, food insecurity and under nutrition remain big concerns in Congo. Despite the efforts of the Government and the natural assets of the country, the calorie intake of 39% of households is lower than the minimum of 2,400 kcal per day, 26% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, iodine deficiency is still 13% nationally, Vitamin A deficiency is 47%, and Iron deficiency is 33% among children under 5. The main reason of this situation is because more than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line of income of 1 USD per day
The project for food and nutrition security in Congo was officially launched today, during a ceremony chaired by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in the presence of the European Union Delegate, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, and the representatives of Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), World Food Program (WFP) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). This project is intended to support government efforts in the fight against hunger, malnutrition and for poverty alleviation in Congo. The FAO, WFP and UNICEF received a grant of nearly six million euros (€ 6,000,000) under an agreement signed with the European Union on 17 December 2008.
"This project complements other initiatives that the Government and development partners are already implementing in the field of food and nutrition security, to ensure the right of the most vulnerable to a balanced, healthy and adequate diet,” said Mr. Lamin Manneh M, UN Coordinator and UNDP Representative in Congo.
"The European Commission is very pleased to make this contribution of 6 million euros to the Republic of Congo for farmers, distribution of food and improvements in nutrition, thus ensuring a sustainable food and nutrition security in the country," said the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Congo, Miguel Amado. "Consequently, we have chosen as partners, the UN System, particularly FAO, PAM and UNICEF for the implementation of the project," said M. Amado.
FAO will use the one million five hundred thousand euros (€ 1,500,000) to finance the improvement and diversification of agriculture, forestry, and livestock particularly focusing on small-scale family holdings. The project will be implemented in the departments of Likouala, Pool and Sangha by the Ministry of Agriculture and will benefit more than 200,000 vulnerable people, particularly women, children, older people, and indigenous populations. The own contribution of FAO to this project is 375,000 euros over 2 years.
WFP will increase the number of students benefiting from school meals. The grant of one million five hundred thousand euros (€ 1,500,000) will benefit more than 70,000 children in 200 primary schools in the Departments of Likouala, Pool and Sangha through the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.. This support will contribute to the improvement of the completion rate of primary school children in areas of high food insecurity. The WFP own contribution to this project is 3,200,000 euros over 2 years.
With a grant of almost three million euros (€ 2 993 000), UNICEF will support the government, the civil society and the private sector to improve access of pregnant women and young children to essential nutritional services, information and commodities. In particular, by 2013, at least 50% of all mothers with children under 5 and pregnant women nationwide will be able to implement good dietary practices and benefit from Vit. A, Iodized salt, fortified flour and growth monitoring. 160,000 pregnant or nursing mothers and 800,000 children under 5 will benefit each year. The financial contribution of UNICEF in this project from own funds 940,000 euros for 3 years.
This project contributes to the strategy of poverty reduction in Congo and the achievement of the first Millennium Development goal (MDG1). This project is part of the UN System development framework plan for the period 2009-2013.