The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) has described the United Nations 2013 Hunger index Report released recently as embarrassing and humiliating.
Last week, three of the United Nations’ agencies, namely the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) indicated that undernourishment prevalence in Zambia is first in Africa and second to Haiti in the world.
Lead Rome based FAO recently issued the State of World Insecurity Report which showed that Zambia has the highest number of undernourished people in Africa and second in the world with Haiti on the top slot.
UPND Vice President for Politics Canisius Banda argues that the Report says Zambia has enjoyed a steady economic growth of over six percent per annum in the last few years.
Dr. Banda says the Report uses data obtained from the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey which some have been dismissive of the findings.
In a press statement released to ZANIS in Lusaka today, Dr. Banda said no Zambian government official was consulted to the said UN Report in question.
Dr. Banda reiterated that the UPND believes in “more food on the table” as the solution to undernourishment and also eating the right food as well.
The opposition leader suggested to the PF Government to put in place adequate interventions to mitigate undernourishment and stunting growth among the Zambian people especially children.
“Let Government re-introduce food subsidies for the 60% Zambians that are poor people who spend 70% of their meagre income on food, that is not even adequate to meet their dietary requirements,” Dr. Banda said.
He accused the PF government for the removal of subsidies on the staple food (maize and fuel) a move he said was not only highly irresponsible but negligence of poor peoples’ needs.
He boasted that the UPND would train more nutritionists and deploy them in all districts on a long term basis and also prioritize improving and diversifying the agriculture sector in Zambia in order to increase the quality and quantity of food at household and national level.
But Republican Vice President Guy Scott disputed the Report released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation that Zambia was the most undernourished country in Africa describing it as inaccurate.
Dr Scott said the Report was not factual and does not represent the happenings on the ground.
He said the criteria used by FAO to determine the nutritional profiles of some people in Zambia was wrong and does not translate into being under-nourished.
The Vice President said there were a number of countries in Africa that are struggling with issues of undernourishment and Zambia does not rank among them.
“We need to be careful with these people coming here and telling us that we are undernourished. They used defective tools in their research and we should not pay attention as a country,” Dr. Scott announced at a recent public meeting.