The Kingdom of Eswatini celebrates milestone with the launch of nationally significant nutrition books
The Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, in collaboration with IITA, has launched a Food Composition Table and a National Recipe Book for foods commonly consumed in the southern African country. The ceremony to unveil the books took place in the legislative capital of Lobamba in October 2019.
Chief Research Officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Similo Mavimbela, welcomed participants to the ceremony including senior Government officials and representatives from both local and international development partners such as the University of Eswatini, Eswatini Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise, the World Food Programme, World Health Organization, and IITA.
He noted that, as with many developing countries, the Kingdom of Eswatini did not have a Food Composition Table (EFCT) that would provide detailed food composition data (FCD) on the nutritionally important components of their foods. Neither had they formally documented their local recipes with the methods of preparation. While these were passed on informally in the past, it was essential to capture and preserve the traditional methods of food preparation for the next generation.
The implementation of the IITA-MIRACLE Project formed a foundation on which to build as it included a study on the Food Consumption and Dietary Intakes of women of childbearing age and children 6–59 months of age from households affected by HIV/AIDS. The project involved conducting a nutrition survey carried out in collaboration with the Eswatini Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health. The survey collected information on the amounts and types of raw and cooked foods that people consumed and nutrient intake estimates at the chiefdom and regional levels.
Part of the output of the nutrition study was the compiled food composition table and the recipe book for commonly consumed foods in Eswatini.
In her remarks, Principal Home Economics Officer, Nikiwe Dlamini, briefly described the origins of the documentation project. She covered details of the study, including the target population, the coverage, the data collection process, and the involvement of communities in the development of the EFCT. The study included samples taken from six constituencies and seven chiefdoms spread across different regions of the country.
Members of the Technical Working Group (TWG) gave presentations outlining the process of developing both the EFCT and the recipe book. The TWG Leader, Phumzile Mdziniso and group member, Siniketiwe Zwane-Mdaka both acknowledged the contribution of IITA, and Senior Food and Nutrition Scientist, Busie Maziya-Dixon in particular.
Speaking on behalf of IITA, Director of Southern Africa Hub, David Chikoye congratulated the TWG for their hard work that had culminated in the launch of these two important compilations. He also commended the country for the development of such documents because appropriate nutrient intake and a quality diet are crucial for a healthy nation. He commended Maziya-Dixon and the IITA technical staff who provided backstopping during the implementation of the project for ensuring that the project was a success.
Under Secretary (PAD) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Nkosinathi E. Mbingo presided over the official launch as a representative of the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Jabulani Mabuza. He noted that the mandate of the Ministry of Agriculture was to ensure that Eswatini is food and nutrition secure and he expressed appreciation as this helps to achieve that goal. He said the compilation of the recipe book is crucial for the country to “preserve our traditional preparation methods for the future generation,” especially concerning indigenous foods.