Kathmandu, February 18
According to a report made public by National Planning Commission today, the country has made remarkable progress in reducing stunting among children below five years of age, but at this rate, Nepal is unlikely to meet the daunting challenge of reducing stunting among children under five years of age to 1 per cent by 2030 as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals for Nepal, 2016–2030.
Nepal had been successful in reducing stunting among children from 57 per cent to 37.3 per cent in 2014 and it was brought further down to 36 per cent in 2016. However, the report states that if the government does not implement targeted programmes to end food scarcity, the country is unlikely to meet the goals of National Action Plan 2016-2025 under the Zero Hunger initiative.
Nepal’s National Plan is in line with the set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the international community, in particular with SDG 1, eradicating poverty, SDG 2 ending hunger and malnutrition and SDG 13, taking action to combat climate change and its impacts.
As per National Action Plan 2016-2025 under the Zero Hunger initiative, Nepal aims to reduce stunting among children below five years of age by 15 per cent.
The report ‘Towards Zero Hunger in Nepal: A strategic Review of Food Security and Nutrition- 2018’ was launched amidst a programme by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health and Population Upendra Yadav.
The report also states that the country needs to double agricultural productivity to reach the SDG 2. Meeting this goal is also very much unlikely as the report also states that there is a shortage of workers in the field in rural areas as a huge number of youths are opting for foreign employment over agricultural work in the country.
The report has pointed out that excessive use of agrochemicals and pesticides has reduced the land productivity in the country. Over use of such agrochemicals has resulted in loss of pollinators, pest resistance to pesticides.
Speaking at the programme, Minister Yadav said the review results will be important to increase access and availability to safe, nutritious and affordable food.
A version of this article appears in print on February 19, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.