NEWS:

25 Feb, 2020


Namarika: the academia will know what is contained in particular food stuffs including the quantities so as to know what to put in the nutrition syllabus
Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Population Dr Dan Namarika has said the Malawi Food Composition Database which was launched 24th February in Lilongwe will be a good guide to different sectors involved in nutritional matters.

The database which was developed by the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in collaboration with the South African Food Data System (SAFOODS) is a list of Malawian foods with their nutritional composition.

According to Dr Namarika, the database will guide the academia, processors and consumers to know in advance the nutritional value of the food they are either processing or consuming and this will improve people’s nutrition.

“What it means is that the academia will know what is contained in particular food stuffs including the quantities so as to know what to put in the nutrition syllabus. At the same time, processors will know the nutrition content of the product they are producing thereby giving the consumer the right food,” said Dr Namarika.

The activity is being implemented by the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) with clinical support from the College of Medicine for the dietetics program while food composition database compilation is supported by SAFOODS of the South African Medical Research Council.

Principal Investigator in the project and Bunda College Principal, Dr Agnes Mangwela, said formation of the database followed an extensive process of research and data gathering following a methodology endorsed by international bodies such as INFOODS and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

“So what we did was that we engaged various researchers who zeroed in on particular food items such as maize, ground nuts, Soybean, as well as animal products. In total we have begun with 360 different food types.

“These researchers worked around the food types and came up with what they contain in terms of nutrients and listed them including their quantities, so the database consists all these 360 and their nutritional breakdown and we will keep updating the database,” said Dr Mangwela.

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition, an initiative of the USAID Bureau of Food security, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufs University is engaged in three focal activities in Malawi aimed at building pre-service nutrition education and training capacity.

According to Vandana Stapleton, a Family Health Team Leader from USAID, development of the National Food Composition Database for Malawi is one of the three focal activities.