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Nutrition Business Network launched

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By Taonga Sabola:

Industry, Trade and Tourism Minister, Francis Kasaila, Wednesday hailed private sector firms for their commitment to eliminating malnutrition in the country.

Kasaila was speaking in Blantyre when he officially launched the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) which seeks to reduce cases of malnutrition in all its forms through engaging and supporting businesses to act, invest and innovate in responsible and sustainable actions and operations to improve nutrition.

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He assured the private sector members of the government’s support for the initiative.

The SBN has picked demand creation; improving nutrition regulatory environment and increased scope of business opportunities as its priority areas.

“We all know that demand creation is not possible if there is no market access. We cannot have increased business opportunities if the business operating environment is poor and there are many barriers to pro-poor trade.

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“As the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, we are also implementing various business linkage programmes to better integrate MSMEs within the formal sector. My ministry also coordinates the development of new or revised standards,” Kasaila said.

He said the SBN has potential to contribute a lot to the economy while creating jobs for particularly women and the youth in the country.

Kasai la added that the network could also help in the reduction of cases of stunting which is a global problem affecting 162 million children across the globe.

SBN is co-convened by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (Gain) and World Food Programme (WFP).

SBN Chairperson, Oswald Bwemba, said SBN will have three key objectives which would include mobilising businesses to contribute towards the reduction of malnutrition, in all forms; making good nutrition more aspirational, accessible, affordable and available for the consumer; as well as building the case for greater business engagement in nutrition among all stakeholders.

“The challenges we face today require us to work together, with partners. Alone, nobody will be able to end cases of malnutrition. This needs to be a joint effort of governments, civil society, the private sector and international agencies,” Bwemba said.

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