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Despite reductions in poverty and hunger, UN agencies say healthy diets are beyond means of many Lao families
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Director General José Graziano da Silva and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley will visit Laos next week, the two agencies said Friday.
In a joint statement, they said the visit aimed to "raise greater awareness about the importance of integrated food systems to improve food and nutrition security, and to see first-hand the agencies’ collaborative programmes.”
Graziano da Silva and Beasley are expected to meet Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith during the visit from May 14 to 16. They are also expected to meet ministers responsible for foreign affairs and agriculture.
“They will visit several sites where a food security and nutrition project is being implemented to help boost nutrition in rural areas,” the statement said.
The UN agencies said Laos has made "good progress" in reducing poverty and hunger over the past 20 years.
“However, a diversified, healthy diet is beyond the economic means of many families, and stunting caused by malnutrition affects around one third of children aged under five,” the statement said.
The FAO and WFP chiefs are scheduled to be accompanied by a senior official from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The statement said the visit would include the country’s north where an agriculture for nutrition programme is benefiting around 400 villages in four provinces.
"They will also visit a school programme that provides healthy meals to children and encourages local food production,” it said.