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Laos committed to fighting hunger

Laos has reduced the prevalence of stunting in children aged under five from 44 percent in 2012 to 31 percent in 2017, but the country still has significant levels of hunger.
The Global Hunger Index recently showed that around one-fifth of the country’s population consumes less than the minimum dietary energy requirements.
This was a key message delivered by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Dr Phouangparisak Pravongviengkham, in his address at the Ministerial Roundtable on Zero Hunger, which was part of the 34th session of the FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific held in Fiji during April 9-13.

In his opening remarks, Dr Phouangparisak stressed that malnutrition remains a significant issue, with inequalities among provinces, ethnic groups, and upland and lowland areas, and that it is associated with poverty patterns.
“In rural areas, without road access, stunting and underweight prevalence are twice those in urban areas. This gap has widened recently, with only slow progress among the poorest,” he said.
Dr Phouangparisak said Laos has reaffirmed its commitment to fight hunger and malnutrition through the National Zero Hunger Challenge that was launched in 2015.
With the generous support of many donors, including the EU, ADB, WB and IFAD, and ongoing assistance from FAO to reach zero hunger, the ministry will work closely with concerned ministries and authorities to reduce the number of poor households to less than 70,000, or less than 5.5 percent of the population by 2020, he said.
Donors support Laos with several projects, including the regional rice initiative, climate resident interventions, smart practice-smart villages, as well as nutrition and farmer field schools.
The country’s Agriculture Development Strategy 2025 and the National Strategy 2025 are providing a framework for achieving the Zero Hunger Challenge.
The FAO Session of the Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific (APRC) brought together ministers and senior technical officials in the fields of food and agriculture and civil society organisations.
During the conference, the participants from the Asia-Pacific Region were encouraged to step up their actions in the fight against hunger. It also acknowledged that the region is home to 490 million people still suffering from chronic hunger, accounting for 62 percent of undernourished people in the world.
More work and stronger partnerships are necessary if the region and the world are to meet the 2030 agenda of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly, SDG2, which is to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in all its forms.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update April 21, 2018

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