FAO: Nicaragua needs to decentralize response to malnutrition

(posted May 14, 1:30 p.m.)- The Nicaraguan government needs to decentralize its efforts to provide food security and combat malnutrition, which affects 19% of the population—one of the highest levels in Latin America, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

Gero Vaagt, the FAO’s representative in Nicaragua, told the local press today that the government ought to create municipal commissions to respond to problems of malnutrition and food insecurity in each of the country’s 153 municipalities. The issue, he said, needs to be approached as an “inter-institutional issue,” according to El Nuevo Diario.

Vaagt stressed that Nicaragua is in a unique position to respond to the issues of malnutrition and food insecurity if it were to diversify its agricultural production more and take advantage of world prices to produce basic grains for export, rather than importing foods that can be produced here.

The FAO notes that malnutrition in Nicaragua has dropped from 52% in 1989 to 19% in 2010, but says that number still represents about 1 million people.

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