Havana.- The Country’s Program 2015-2018 will benefit some 900,000 people in seven Cuban provinces in a mission which hopes to strengthen ties with social, local and national protection systems with priority held in food and nutrition safety.
Driven by the World Food Program (PMA in Spanish), the project includes food assistance and support in the distribution of beans across primary schools, and the increase in facilities for the cooking and storage of foods in centres of health and education.
Cuba was selected to implement this program after standing out among the nations that completed the first goal of the millennium and for being an example and relevant actor in the efforts to maintain food safety in the political agenda of the region, as assured by the regional director of the PMA, Miguel Barreto.
The planned actions will take place in the provinces of Pinar del Río, Matanzas, Las Tunas, Holguín, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantánamo, supported by a budget of 18 million dollars.
In particular, the Country’s Program is narrowly linked to food safety in order to guarantee the reduction in the importation of foods, as well as corresponding with the challenges of United Nations general secretary – Ban Ki-moon’s- Zero Hunger campaign.
Similarly, it is aligned with the United Nation’s agenda of post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.
Citizens older than 65, pregnant women, and girls and boys will be under the protection of the Country’s Program until the year 2018 as it is in their interest that the lack of micronutrients and the consumption of foods are studied, as well as the prevention and control of anaemia in vulnerable populations.
These efforts are guided to strengthen the links between the social protection systems and the chains of agricultural value through integral diagnostics, training and equipping of producers as is done with the personnel of public institutions that handle food.
Among the strategical areas of this plan one finds in first place the support of the social protection systems related to food and nutrition safety, which will benefit pregnant and breast-feeding women, children 6-23 months old and the elderly with an additional distribution of beans in centres of health and education.
Furthermore, the actions for improving healthy eating habits and stable access to nutritious foods directed to these groups of vulnerable populations will increase.
In particular, an integral plan for the control and prevention of anaemia will be developed through the delivery of pulverized micronutrients for children of 6-11 months old and the distribution of a fortified food (nutritive) for children of 12-23 months, expectant mothers and breast-feeding women.
For Laura Melo, the representative of the PMA in Cuba, the program is all about the strengthening of the systems of social, local and national protection in supporting food safety, the production chain and agricultural values, putting an emphasis on beans, and on the consolidation of the abilities required to manage the risks of disasters. (PL)