International development organisation Hivos says there is need to promote the consumption of a variety of foods in Zambia.
Hivos Senior Programme Manager Sustainable Diets Frank Mechielsen said Zambia has a lot of people that are still not accessing healthy and diverse foods.
Mr Mechielsen said Hivos is now working on a programme to promote sustainable diets because the of the changing food system.
He was speaking on Wednesday during the opening of a series of meetings on Sustainable Diets for All (SD4ALL) organised by Hivos in Lusaka.
The meeting has brought together a total of 60 participants from different parts of the world who are working on the Sustainable Food Programme
“As you know, in many countries like Zambia, there are still many people who are hungry but also, there are people who are obese because of the unhealthy diet. We really want to make a change with this programme,” Mr Mechielsen said.
He added, “Our main concern about Zambia is that it uses monocropping of maize only. But there are a lot of attempts from the government to change this fact because it makes the country vulnerable to climate change.”
“It is also not very healthy to just eat maize. We need a variety of foods. We have to work with the people themselves because people nowadays know what is good for them. But what I hear from the people of Zambia is that there is potential in the diversification of crop, for example, millet and sorghum.”
Mr Mechielsen also appealed to the media in Zambia to raise understanding among citizens on sustainable diets.
“We also have a programme for the media because people don’t really have much understanding on issues of diets…all they know is something to do with Coca-cola, I don’t know if you have McDonalds here…they go for highly processed foods and it is not healthy,” he said.
He said Hivos wants the media to help write stories about traditional foods and proper diets.
“We are working in Zambia, Bolivia and Indonesia with civil society organisations to try and influence governments and the private sector to try and make this change in policies towards healthier, sustainable and diverse food production and also healthier consumption,” he said.