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Food based approaches for a healthy Nutrition in Africa
  • Mamoudou Hama DICKO, Université de Ouagadougou

The latest estimates of the FAO demonstrate the problems of the fight against hunger. These problems are manifested by the ever-increasing number of chronically undernourished people worldwide. Their numbers during the 1999-2001 period were estimated at about 840 million of which 798 million live in developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa alone represented 198 million of those. In this part of Africa the prevalence of undernourishment ranges from 5-34%, causing growth retardation and insufficient weight gain among one third of the children under five years of age and resulting in a mortality of 5-15% among these children. Malnutrition resulting from undernourishment is evident in qualitative as well as quantitative terms and it can affect the mental development of individuals. Therefore, when analysing the factors determining undernourishment, we should not only consider the factors related to a decrease in food availability like conflicts, drought, low productivity, etc. but we should equally take into account the causes of nutritional imbalances resulting from deficiencies of essential components of a good diet, such as low purchasing power of the family, lack of appropriate technology and economic problems facing hunger stricken countries. Here we should not overlook the pandemic of HIV/AIDS which has worsened the problem of food security, making it even harder to achieve the goals formulated during the World Food Summit, namely to half the number of undernourished people by the year 2015. We can observe that food security in certain developing countries, especially in West-Africa, is increasingly threatened. This puts a heavy burden on the development and the fight against poverty in this region: hungry people can not be educated, can not care for themselves and can not ensure a sustained economic growth. Food security plays a determining role in the process of development. Its achievement is a complex task, necessitating the involvement of our governments and other political decision makers. These need to create appropriate conditions to achieve production. In turn, this requires politics geared towards peace and social stability, as well as the equity and equality of the sexes so that national wealth can evolve. Scientists and others involved in development must also play their role, joining politicians in the continuous struggle against poverty and to obtain sustained food and nutrition security. In recognition of this, the University of Ouagadougou through its “Research Centre of Biological, Food and Nutritional Sciences” (CRSBAN) has developped since 1996 a training and research programme in the area of nutrition and food technology, in collaboration with its partners, namely the Wageningen University (WU) and the Institut de Recherche pour le développement (IRD). In the context of this training and research programme, financed by the Netherlands Government and managed by Nuffic, meetings of scientists and political decisionmakers were held at regular intervals to facilitate exchanges of ideas and to contribute to consistent policies against poverty and undernourishment. A first international workshop was organised in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 22-24 November 1999 in collaboration between the University of Ouagadougou, Wageningen University and the IRD. Its theme was «Small scale food industry for a healthy nutrition in West Africa». The present second international workshop, organised by the same institutions as well as the FAO, was dedicated to the theme Food-based approaches for a healthy nutrition in West Africa: the role of food technologists and nutritionists». This workshop is one of the concrete results of a fruitful partnership and demonstrates, if this would be needed, the important contribution that the African scientific community can makein the fight for food and nutrition security and towards the alleviation of poverty within the African co ntinent, in particular in West Africa. The international workshop held from 23 to 28 November 2003 in Ouagadougou, attracted more then 180 participants specialized in nutrition, food technology and other related disciplines, from Africa and abroad. The workshop challenged participants to reflect on a variety of problems in nutrition and food technology within the following themes ; - trends in food and nutrition security in West Africa - dietary diversification - processing of local cereals - enrichment of foods with micronutrients Discussions were held as well about the strengthening of institutional capa-city and teaching curricula in nutrition and food sciences in Africa. The Organizing Committee is pleased to bring the present document to the attention of the international scientific community and of the political decision makers. It comprises the most significant contributions in line with the workshop themes, taking into considerations the aims of the bilateral developmental assistance project of the Burkinabè and Netherlands partners and supported by the IRD. This is the moment to acknowledge the invaluable contribution of national and international institutions and organizations that formed the basis for the success of this high level scientific meeting. In particular this concerns the Wageningen University, the IRD, the FAO and the University of Ouagadougou. We dare believe that this collection of results may serve as a source of inspiration and be a solid basis for the establishment of policies of sustainnable development and the advocacy of food and nutrition security in West Africa.

  • Food,
  • nutrition,
  • africa,
  • health,
  • security,
  • Ouagadougou,
  • Burkina Faso
Publication Date
June, 2004
Inge D. Brouwer, Alfred S. Traore, Serge Trêche
Presses Universitaires, Université de Ouagadougou
Publisher Statement
Copyright: Inge D. Brouwer, A. S. Traoré, Serge Trèche
Citation Information
Mamoudou Hama DICKO. Food based approaches for a healthy Nutrition in Africa. 2004OuagadougouVol. 1 (2004)
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