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Officials claim end to hunger in sight thanks to rice surplus

Mom Kunthear / Khmer Times Share:
Workers carry rice bags for transport. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Government officials have claimed the country could see an end to malnutrition and hunger following a decade of food security improvements and increased rice yields.

Speaking yesterday at a government workshop attended by 70 officials, Lao Sokharum, secretary-general of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, said food security in the country has improved over the past 10 years due to a surplus of more than three million tonnes of rice each year.

However, he warned that nutrition for mothers and children is still not good enough.

“Nutrition for mothers and children depends on having a mixed diet and quality food, changing habits related to nutrition, providing clean water and access to healthcare services,” he said.

According to the Demographic and Health Survey in 2014, 32 percent of children under the age of five experience stunted growth, 24 percent are underweight, 10 percent are skinny and 55 percent are pale.

“The lack of nutrition differs from province to province and is based on family income,” said Mr Sokharum.

“The government will launch a short-term plan to tackle the issue until 2018 and a new national strategy on food security and nutrition for 2019 to 2023.”

Sok Silo, the deputy secretary-general of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development, told reporters yesterday that the country could end hunger for all its people with the rice surplus.

He said the government has already worked hard to provide enough food and healthcare services for children and mothers, build more toilets, and educate children on washing their hands.

“All relevant ministries must pay attention to improving food security and nutrition,” he said.

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