Kids’ nutrition and food sufficiency in provincial cities

There will likely be more stunted, wasted, and underweight children because of COVID-19. Without proper interventions, these children are put to a disadvantaged up to their adult lives.

It was Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who also heads the government’s hunger task force, who expressed the bleak expectation following the September SWS poll that showed 7.6 million households had experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months.

The Zuellig Family Foundation, through its City Nutrition Governance Program, works with Puerto Princesa, Tacurong, and Tagum to improve nutrition in the first 1000 days, and mitigate the impacts of the pandemic as well as integrate nutrition into their overall COVID-19 response programs.

The city mayors aim to address the unsustainability of food packs distribution and cash amelioration programs, and then make their constituents more food self-sufficient.

Puerto Princesa supports the organic backyard gardening by distributing gardening and farming tools, seedlings, and information materials to families in barangays where malnutrition cases are high.

Tacurong City appointed a new city action nutrition officer, activated the city and barangay nutrition councils, and upgraded front-line health workers’ skills.  Pregnant women and mothers with malnourished children get priority seed allocation.

Tagum City’s agriculture office introduced programs that brought fresh produce directly to barangays, encouraged residents to plant on vacant lots around the city, and gave residents free access to seeds and seedlings.