Lilongwe to host int’l meet on agriculture, food systems, nutrition and health

Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, will be the centre of activities from Monday to Friday next week when 400 scientists, policymakers, farmers and practitioners from 35 countries will converge for the eighth Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy (ANH Academy) Week.

During the meeting, the experts are expected to share innovative evidence to inform policies designed to address some of the world’s most pressing development challenges.

The ANH2023 will take place from 26 to 30 June 2023 at the Bingu Wa Mutharika International Convention Centre (BICC) where 600 others are expected to attend online.

This is a joint venture between the ANH Academy; the Government of Malawi; and Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Director of Nutrition, HIV and Aids in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Felix Pensulo Phiri, described the conference as critical as it will be held amid a global food crisis made worse by climate change, the pandemic and conflicts.

Phiri:The Conference is very critical

“It is more important than ever that we identify ways to collaborate and generate evidence that can be used to shape solutions. This large international event brings the global community of experts to Malawi for the first time to address these very concerns,” said Phiri.

LUANAR Deputy Vice Chancellor, Dr. Agnes Mwangwela, the meeting is a critical step towards better understanding how to produce food and diets that are healthy for people and the planet.

From high level policy discussions to the sharing of the latest evidence on agriculture and food systems, it holds the potential to galvanise urgent research and policy agendas to secure sustainable nutrition outcomes for Malawi and the world,” said Mwangwela.

On his part, Professor Suneetha Kadiyala, who is the director of ANH Academy and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the gathering of researchers, practitioners and policy makers, working at the intersection of agriculture-food systems and nutrition and health, is a testament  to the commitment of the community to realise its ambition of ensuring that nutritious and healthy diets are  safe and affordable to all in a sustainable, equitable and just way.

Meanwhile, the United Nations World Food Programme reports that these factors have pushed more than 345 million people to acute levels of food insecurity – more than double the number since 2020.

Additionally, recent events – including Cyclone Freddy, which devastated Southern Africa earlier this year killing hundreds, displacing thousands and exacerbating an existing cholera outbreak across Malawi –  show how the climate crisis is already inflicting severe and wide-reaching impacts on people and the planet. Agriculture, food systems and climate are deeply connected and need urgent and far-reaching transformation to increase resilience and reduce vulnerabilities among those at risk.

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