Press Releases 2011
U.S. Ambassadors' Visit Focused on Food Security, Child Nutrition
December 12, 2011
LA PAZ - On December 12, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in Rome Ertharin Cousin and U.S. Ambassador to Honduras Lisa Kubiske visited food security programs financed by the United Nations and U.S. Government agencies. During their trip to La Paz, both Ambassadors visited local health clinics, as well as household and commercial sites involved in growing vegetables to learn more about production and commercialization of local produce.
While in Marcala, La Paz, the Ambassadors met Nora and Jhonny, two small farmers who have recently begun training with the USAID food security program ACCESO. "We have been in training for about three months. The agricultural technician has taught us to change our corn and bean production to carrots, lettuce, and cabbage. We are planning on producing three crops this year, which we'll see to the supermarket. This is the first time we produce knowing where we will sell and for how much before the harvest," said Nora.
When asked, if her life has improved due to the training, she enthusiastically replied: "knowing that I can produce and make enough money to feed my family is important, but even more important is the fact that my husband will no longer travel to the United States looking to look for work."
Later that day, Ambassadors Cousin and Kubiske visited a child feeding program financed by the U.S. government via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). La Paz is one of the areas in Honduras with the highest incidence of child stunting and malnutrition.
As part of this U.S-funded program, mothers in the community of Las Pavas are learning how to prevent undernourishment. Doña Chona, one of the women group leaders talked to both Ambassadors about the training the group receives and new feeding practices: "The program has taught us the importance of including iron and other nutrients in our children's diets. Before I gave my kids chips and a soda as a snack; now I know they need food that gives them nutrients that help them grow." As part of the program, the children are measured and weighed, and those who are below the desired size and weight are fed three times a day with nutrient rich food grown in the community. "In my home garden, I have beets, radishes, celery, beans, green onions, carrots, and other vegetables. The program taught me how to make rice, tortillas, and beans using the vegetables in my home garden to make meals for my kids that have more nutrients and are better for them. They eat it, and soon their measurements are fine," she added.
These programs aim to increase food security by teaching the community about the health aspects of a proper diet how produce nutrition rich foods at home, and to increase their incomes through production of new cash crops which they sell at the markets.
Ambassador Cousin’s visit to Honduras (December 11-14) is focused on food security. While in Honduras she is visiting U.S. and U.N. funded nutrition, agricultural production, and commercialization projects, as well as meeting with senior Honduran and U.N. officials to discuss food security issues.