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Nutrition programmes in K1.3bn funding gap

The National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) has disclosed that there is about K1.3 billion budgeting gap towards nutrition programmes in Zambia.

This was disclosed in Lusaka during a media breakfast meeting on nutrition funding and gaps that exist in the sector.

NFNC Economist Sosten Banda says it is for this reason that the commission in partnership with other stakeholders proposed to the committee on estimates to at least consider reducing the gap by 20 percent.

Mr. Banda says this will mean that in the 2019 national budget, about K254 million will go towards funding nutrition programmes in the country.

He says the stunting levels that stand at about 40 percent are still high for a country like Zambia as this affects cognitive development.

Mr. Banda bemoans that since 2013, nutrition programmes have received less than 1 percent of the total national budget as seen with the 2018 national budget having less than one percent of the total budget that is about K7.2 billion.

“There is need to actually consider increasing the budgetary allocation towards nutrition programmes just like the Ministry of Health receives a substantive allocation from the national budget if we are to reduce the high stunting levels that are affecting cognitive development of our country”, he said during a presentation.

Mr. Banda laments that historically budgetary allocation to nutrition programmes has always being low as compared to other sectoral programmes.

And in his welcoming remarks, CSO-SUN Alliance Zambia Country Coordinator Mathews Mhuru said the alliance has trained a number of Civil Society organizations in the country on the need to advocate for increased funding towards nutrition programmes.

Mr. Mhuru also said the formation of the All Party Parliamentary Caucus on Food and Nutrition (APPCON) is a step in the right direction as Members of Parliament will be advocating for increased funding to nutrition programmes.

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