Agriculture Minister Dr Agnes Kalibata says a poor eating habit among Rwandans is responsible for continued cases of nutrition-related diseases.
She said, because of that, the government will soon embark on awareness campaigns on nutritional knowledge and good dietary habits.
The minister made the remarks in an interview with The New Times on the eve of the African Food and Nutrition Security Day – marked yesterday.
She pointed out that Rwanda generally have adequate food varieties but lack more knowledge on proper diet.
“People have food but they don’t know how to eat a balanced diet. You find someone farming vegetables and, instead of utilising that chance, they decide to sell everything. We still have many issues,” she noted.
Kalibata maintains that her ministry would continue sensitising Rwandans on dietary change to avoid nutritional diseases.
Some of the diseases caused by a poor eating culture include scurvy, rickets, iron deficiency, anaemia, and beriberi among others.
According to a statement from the World Food Programme (WFP), the Day highlighted the importance of regional markets and locally produced food in increasing access to food at both national and household levels in the country.
In Rwanda, WFP purchases food commodities directly from smallholder farmers through the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative.
The programme aims to enhance farmers’ access to reliable markets using WFP’s purchasing power as a catalyst to increase production.
“Since 2010, WFP purchased 7000 metric tonnes of combined commodities (maize and beans) worth US$2.5m, mainly from the Eastern Province” said Abdoulaye Balde, WFP representative and country director.
The Day was held under the theme; “Investing in Intra-African Trade for Food and Nutrition Security.”
“WFP Rwanda places strong emphasis on social protection activities for vulnerable populations, including supplementary feeding to malnourished children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and HIV/AIDS patients on antiretroviral treatment,” the statement reads.
WFP also provides food assistance to 54,000 Congolese refugees located in three refugee camps in the country as well as providing hot meals to 350,000 pupils in 300 primary schools countrywide.
“WFP works with governments and communities across Africa to break the cycle of hunger that is so pervasive,” said WFP Deputy Executive Director Sheila Sisulu. “We’re helping to apply country-led hunger solutions while promoting growth and development.”