Message by the Honourable Peter David Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Forestry to mark the opening of National Nutrition Week 2021.
Fellow Grenadians, it gives me great pleasure to address you today as we officially open National Nutrition Week 2021. Every year, the Grenada Food and Nutrition Council (GFNC) carves out one week of the year to highlight and promote the importance of proper nutrition to human life and development. From June 20th to June 26th, 2021, the GFNC and its partners will celebrate National Nutrition Week under the theme “Let’s grow, create and enjoy our local food” to underpin the importance of nutrition for a healthy nation.
Fellow Citizens, we often cite the old adage “Health is wealth” because decades of data show that good health outcomes in the population are necessary for greater productivity and prosperity. During this era of the Sustainable Development Goals great emphasis is being placed on addressing hunger and malnutrition.
In 2016 the UN General Assembly declared 2016–2025 as the Decade of Action on Nutrition. This Declaration is a commitment by United Nations Member States to undertake 10 years of sustained and coherent implementation of policies, programmes, and increased investments to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms, everywhere, leaving no one behind.
Therefore, investing in nutrition promotion initiatives acts as a powerful instrument in building a healthy, productive, and prosperous Nation.
Since its establishment in 1980, as a statutory body under the Ministry of Agriculture, the GFNC has dutifully carried out its mandate of planning, developing, implementing, monitoring, and evaluating projects and programmes that relate to food and nutrition. The council continues to play a pivotal role in the fight against chronic non-communicable diseases, micronutrient deficiencies, and malnutrition through nutrition counselling, and the utilisation of various media platforms to provide up-to-date information relating to health promotion and disease prevention.
Fellow Grenadians, despite our considerable efforts to stem the harmful effects of poor nutrition habits among the citizenry, the effects of globalisation of food systems, urbanisation, and economic growth have resulted in dietary and lifestyle transitions, which are fuelling an epidemic of poor nutrition choices.
The consumption of pre-packaged, processed, or ultra-processed foods high in fat, sugars, and salt is increasing significantly, and we continue to observe a steady increase in the incidence of diet-related Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (CNCDs) and obesity. Therefore, the activities carried out by the GFNC must be further enhanced to ensure that the populace makes well-informed dietary choices, so that nutrition outcomes are improved.
Fellow Grenadians, the Ministry of Agriculture is committed to pursuing policy changes that will dissuade the public from increasing consumption of processed foods that are high in fat, sugars and salt.
Malnutrition is a cross-cutting issue, and addressing it requires a multi-sectoral approach. Recognising this need, the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with all related sectors; Education, Health, Fisheries, Social Development, Civil Society and the media, will initiate efforts to improve the food and nutrition security status of Grenada.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry, and Government by extension, will continue to support the GFNC in the implementation of programs that improve the nutrition status of the population because national development cannot occur if most of our people are not in good nutritional health.
In these challenging economic times brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic, we must promote initiatives like ‘Buy Local, Eat Local’ and ‘National Nutrition Week’ which will generate greater local production and consumption, and provide greater knowledge of good nutrition practices.
Comrades, much has been accomplished over the past several years, however, the council, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Government will not be satisfied until a larger percentage of the Grenadian population can enjoy the benefits that come along with improved nutritional status.
During National Nutrition Week 2021, we renew our commitment to making improved nutrition for all a reality. Throughout this week we will execute a plan of activities that will contribute towards the attainment of this goal. Fellow Grenadians, the fight against poor nutrition habits and its consequences is a difficult one, and the government is committed and engaged. However, as individuals, we must do our part by taking responsibility for what we and our families consume.
Let us all commit to making small dietary changes that will have an immediate positive impact on our health, and in the long run, on the wealth of this nation.
In conclusion, let me wish the leadership and staff of the GFNC a successful National Nutrition Week 2021.
Finally, it is with immense pleasure that I officially declare National Nutrition Week 2021, open.
I thank You.
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