GAIN to rope in Ethiopia’s private sector in streamlining country’s food system to tackle malnutrition

ETHIOPIA – The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), a Swiss-based foundation launched at the UN to tackle human suffering caused by malnutrition, has launched Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN) in Ethiopia, to foster availability and affordability of safe, nutritious food in the country.

The SBN is one of the four global networks within the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement which supports 61 Countries, including Ethiopia, to develop a multi-stakeholder approach to scale up and invest in nutrition.

In Ethiopia, SBN’s approach will include convening businesses around national nutrition priorities, building national and global partnerships to scale up investments in nutrition, and advocating for an enabling environment to promote business involvement in nutrition.

To this end the initiative will support small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in Ethiopia’s food sector by bringing businesses together, facilitate partnerships, build capacity, identify challenges, and support solutions.

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“Despite being one of the key players in the food system, private sector’s massive contribution for improving malnutrition in Ethiopia was side-lined for far too long.

“SBN Ethiopia shall bring this agenda forward on all platforms to make sure that the private sector becomes part of the solution,” notes Abinet Tekle, National SBN Coordinator.

“The SBN Ethiopia will enable us facilitate the transformation of the Ethiopian food system and nutrition by ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of safe, diverse and nutritious food and diets for all.”

Dr. Frew Lemma – Senior adviser to the office of the state minster (programs) of the Federal Ministry of Health Ethiopia

The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI) as well as Ministry of Health (MOH) acknowledges the SBN platform as a vital networking platform that can influence business practices around nutrition, leading to the increased access to available and affordable nutritious foods.

This will support sustainable and profitable business as well as improved health and nutrition status of the population through increased consumption of nutritious foods and help in the alleviation of malnutrition.

“The SBN Ethiopia will enable us facilitate the transformation of the Ethiopian food system and nutrition by ensuring availability, accessibility and affordability of safe, diverse and nutritious food and diets for all,” says Dr. Frew Lemma, senior adviser to the office of the state minster (programs) of the Federal Ministry of Health Ethiopia.

Ethiopia in recent years has registered significant strides in addressing malnutrition in the last decade.

Stunting declined from 58.0% to 38.4%, underweight from 41% to 23.6%, and wasting from 12.0% to 9.9% from 2000 to 2016. 

Despite such progresses, Ethiopia is still one of the highest contributors to the global burden of malnutrition after India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nigeria. Micronutrient deficiencies such as iron deficiency, anaemia, vitamin A and D, iodine and calcium are still posing significant threat to the economy and loss of lives.

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This makes the launch of the SBN timely in driving private sector engagement in Ethiopia’s food systems.

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