The Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, Patrick Ralotsia has raised concern that Botswana, like most middle income countries is faced with the burden of under nutrition and overweight. He was officiating at International Fund for Agricultural Development IFAD on Nutrition Mainstreaming workshop held in Maun on Tuesday. Ralotsia said coexistence of under nutrition and over nutrition leads to risks such as diabetes and heart diseases. He said there is a global burden of malnutrition, especially in Africa. The poor state of nutrition presents economic challenges like high public expenditure and loss of gross domestic products GDP. He said according to the World Bank, the cost of the cost of core micronutrients are as low as USD0.05-3.60 per person annually. Therefore, Ralotsia said, investing in nutrition is paramount towards building and improving human capital, which entails improvement in health and labour productivity.
According to Ralotsia the current state of nutrition could be attributed to limited capacity to address issues on food security and nutrition at various levels of food systems. “Therefore, achieving food security entails ensuring quality and continuity of food access, as well as, quantity for all household members,” he said, taking cognizance of the fact that addressing issues of hunger and malnutrition is complex because it calls for collaboration between different sectors, with agriculture playing a key and unique role. He said his ministry has programmes and projects that address food security and these include Livestock Management and Infrastructure Development (LIMID) and Integrated Support for Arable and Agriculture Development (ISPAAD). "While these programmes and projects are robust in addressing food security issues, I am yet to see their impact on reducing malnutrition in the country as they do not have explicit nutrition objectives and indicators for monitoring," he conceded.