The plan seeks to enhance food security through economic empowerment of local communities.

Plan to Enhance Food Security in 7 Provinces

The first phase of a plan to augment household food security in seven provinces will be implemented in Chabahar city in southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan from early December, said Zahra Abdollahi, director general of the Health Ministry’s Nutrition Improvement Office.
The plan seeks to enhance food security through economic empowerment of local communities by improving agriculture and aquaculture production, provision of small livestock, development of home gardens, and providing essential training.  
“The interventions will be delivered by the relevant state-run organizations, the health and agriculture jihad ministries, as well as non-governmental organizations,” IRNA quoted her as saying.
“More cities in the seven provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad, Ilam, Kerman, Hormozgan, and Bushehr, will be gradually covered under the plan,” she said.
The southern provinces have good potential which allow for different types of aquaculture, she said. “This year, 600 tons of shrimp has been produced in Chabahar and measures should be taken to evaluate the regional aquaculture industry, to create more jobs for the locals.”

While protein-energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies is not a health burden in most of the cities and villages anymore, residents of some regions still struggle with poor diets. “The root cause of poor diet is the worsening drought that has negatively affected agricultural production.”
According to official figures released by the Health Ministry, currently, more than 4% of children under the age of five suffer from marasmus, a form of severe malnutrition characterized by energy deficiency (the figure was 16.6% in 1995). Also 14% of all pregnant women suffer from iron deficiency which can lead to low birth weight in babies.
While the rate of stunting in children under five has been reduced to 6%, it is high at 21%, 12%, and 11% in three provinces of Sistan -Baluchestan, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad, and Hormozgan, respectively.  
“The high prevalence of bacterial and parasitic diseases in some areas also contributes to malnutrition. Similarly, malnutrition increases people’s susceptibility to severe infections,” she said.
“Therefore health interventions should be considered simultaneously with measures for economic empowerment of the people.”
At present, vitamin A deficiency is seen in Hormozgan Province. It is the leading cause of preventable childhood blindness and child mortality. It also contributes to maternal mortality and other poor outcomes in pregnancy.
Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.


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