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Good nutrition central to rural and urban economic development say experts

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Government, civil society and the private sector need to join hands not only to create awareness on the role good nutrition can play in the rural and urban economic development of a country but also to offer solutions to nutritional challenges faced by Pakistan.

This was the key message that came out of a national conference themed "Health and Nutrition: Shaping a Healthier Nation". The conference was jointly organised by Nestlé Pakistan Ltd; Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR) and National Animal & Plant Health Inspection Services (NAPHIS).

The Chief Guest of the conference was Rana Tanweer Hussain, Federal Minister of Science & Technology. Other speakers included people from Nestlé Pakistan, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI), Micronutrient Initiative (MI) and European Union. Experts from all across the country, including Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, participated in the conference.

The minister appreciated the conference and said it had served as a platform for multiple stakeholder engagement on the importance of health and nutrition. He said the topic was relevant because the National Nutrition Survey indicates that stunting, wasting and micronutrient malnutrition are endemic in Pakistan. In addition, he said, the need of the hour is to look at health and Nutrition with an integrated approach.

Bruno Olierhoek, Managing Director for Nestlé Pakistan said, "Understanding the magnitude of the challenge, throughout the world, multi-stakeholder partnerships are being formed to tackle nutritional challenges. Food companies can play a very important role in helping curtail nutrition-related problems through innovation, consumer information, and ensuring that the choices they offer are affordable, accessible and above all healthy. Nestlé is taking the lead in fulfilling global commitment to nutrition, health and wellness. Our products are a result of science-based research and we ensure food safety, quality and accessibility using sustainable production processes. Let’s join hands in promoting healthy diets and life styles for a healthier and happier Pakistan."

Zahoor Ahmad, NAPHIS Director General, said, "Obesity and under nutrition go hand in hand, for lack of information induces consumption of unhealthy food."

Dr Tausif Akhtar Janjua, the Technical Director of Food Fortification Programme said, "Addressing micro-nutrient malnutrition through fortification is one of the best investments Pakistan can make in its future.” Dr Farnaz Malik from National Institute of Health echoed Janjua saying, "We can reduce the risk of under-nutrition through micronutrient fortification."

Stefano Gatto, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Pakistan, highlighted the role EU was playing to "enhance maternal and child nutrition by reducing mortality, morbidity, growth and development deficiencies due to under-nutrition"

The PCSIR chairman Dr Shahzad Alam also stressed the importance of early life nutrition, which he termed "the most critical determinant of future life."

"UNIDO is committed to cooperate with Pakistan for the establishment of a coordinated and coherent management system in the country to ensure safe and healthier food of quality not only for export but for domestic consumption as well," said Esam Alqararah, UNIDO Representative in Pakistan.

Muhammad Abid Javed, Federal Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, said in the closing session that the government was playing its part to address nutrition challenges, "Safe and Nutritious food is a key element of the National Food Security Policy."

About Nestlé Pakistan

Nestlé Pakistan is the leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company in Pakistan; meeting and exceeding all the international standards in manufacturing of their products. Nestlé Pakistan believes in creating shared value for the communities in which it operates with the focus being on Nutrition, Water and Rural Development. Nestlé Pakistan works with more than 150,000 farmers for collecting milk and engages in a number of rural development programs for community development.

For further information, please contact:

Aatekah Mir-Khan
Corporate Media Relations Manager, Nestlé Pakistan
Cell:  042-35988119
Email:  [email protected]é.com


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