June 21, Colombo: The World Bank has organized a roundtable discussion to address the issue of malnutrition prevalent in South Asia including Sri Lanka and to explore how the private sector can help to provide more nutritious foods for the poor.
The two-day roundtable "Putting the Lens on the Consumer in Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems in South Asia" will be held on June 25-26 at Taj Samudra Hotel in Colombo.
According to the World Bank, in Sri Lanka as in the rest of South Asia, improving agricultural production has long been a priority to achieve food security but despite much progress, chronic malnutrition remains prevalent across the region as many poor South Asians cannot afford nutritious foods or don't have the relevant information or education to make smart dietary choices.
By framing the discussion around consumers and the nutritious value-rather than quantity-of foods they can access and consume, the regional roundtable 'Putting the Lens on the Consumer' will explore how government and the private sector can meet the demand for more nutritious foods for the poor.
The event will draw on the latest evidence and experience from current nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific programs focusing on putting the lens on the consumer in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems in South Asia.
It will explore the implications for acting at scale with such interventions, including, engaging with consumers and the importance of consumer education through improved communication, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation dimensions.
Specifically, the event will discuss how consumers interact with food systems, how markets affect their dietary preferences and consumption, and how government policies can enable or distort nutrition-sensitive food markets.
Sponsored by the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), a World Bank trust fund, the event will gather representatives from the public and private sectors, international donors and civil society.
Secretary to the President Austin Fernando will be the Chief Guest of the event while World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the
Maldives, Dr. Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Mr. B. Wijayarathne, Secretary, Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine Mr. Janaka Sugathadasa and Director, Regional Integration and Partnerships- South Asia Region, World Bank Mr. Robert Saum will participate in the roundtable.