Zanzibar Second VP: We’re still importing rice, sugar

The Second Vice President Hemed Suleiman Abdulla said that food production in Zanzibar has been growing steadily almost reaching 70 percent of the demand in 2020, but still importing rice, sugar, and wheat flour.

Speaking at the gathering of stakeholders in food production, at the Sheikh Idriss Abdulwakil Hall, to mark the 2021 World Food Day, the Second Vice President said: “The country should aim for food security and self-sufficiency.”

The VP has also directed the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Irrigation and Natural Resources to ensure workable methods are applied in farming for sustainable production of enough food.

The theme for World Food Day 2021 is ‘Safe food for a healthy tomorrow’. The idea is to celebrate the food heroes or individuals who have made sig-nificant contributions to build a sustainable world where no one has to stay hungry.

This year the emphasis of World Food Day is to build a hunger-free world.

He also argued that if the country does not produce sufficiently it will create a room for importation of food items from abroad, something which may lead to importation of expired and substandard food items, thus putting health of people at risk.

“Food production in our country requires improvement because we need food security and food self-reliance. The minister responsible for agriculture should work with experts in the Ministry to increase production to reduce reliance on imported foods,” Mr Abdulla said over the weekend during the celebrations.

Food security is defined as the access of food for all people at all times for a healthy and active life and food self-sufficiency is defined as being able to meet consumption needs (particularly for staple food crops) from own production rather than by buying or importing.

Mr Abdulla also urged mem- bers of the public to eat healthily by having a balanced diet to reduce or end malnutrition prob- lems, especially in rural areas where people normally do not consider balanced diet.

He said that improper con- sumption of food may lead to malnutrition and poor health, “Therefore we should encourage people in villages and living in difficult environments to have diet balanced food because it is possible.”

Ms Dorothy Temu Usiri, representative of the United Nation institutions said the theme emphasizes the importance of changing food

systems and making them more resilient and sustainable, “When we talk about the food system we mean a collection of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and eating food, from food produced on the farm to the table (farm-fork),”she said.

World Food Day is an international day celebrated every year worldwide on 16 October to commemorate the date of the founding of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in 1945.