FNC Programmes

This is the public relations and marketing unit of the Food and Nutrition Council. It increases visibility and advocates on issues related to food and nutrition security to inform perceptions and understanding of these issues among multiple stakeholders, including senior Government officials and the general public.

The unit is responsible advocacy, information and education on emerging issues in the area of food and nutrition security at international, regional and national platforms, down to community level discourse. It aims to increase awareness of food and nutrition security issues in Zimbabwe through innovative and strategic approaches of information sharing and communication on specific priority issues using multiple media. The unit also supports the dissemination of information of the food and nutrition security situation.

Together with other units, it enables high level advocacy to ensure that food and nutrition security is kept high on the national developmental agenda. The Advocacy and Communication Unit ensures that all of the Food and Nutrition Council’s partners are informed and aware of what the organisation aims to do and what it has achieved under the leadership of the various units. It does this by maintaining an effective and efficient information management system on national food and nutrition security, including an electronic data base, website and reference library of all relevant food and nutrition security reports. It also facilitates the publishing and dissemination of national situational findings and analyses on food and nutrition security surveys, assessments and synthesized quarterly bulletins and monthly newsletters.

For details on this unit’s area of responsibility, click here.

Advocacy and information products produced aim to bridge the gap between policy-makers, implementers, development partners and the people on whom policy and activities will have the greatest impact.

The products meaningfully unpacking the national development agenda and customizing messages appropriately, to suit intended audiences.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC)

Food and nutrition security assessments are coordinated by a multi-stakeholder committee known as the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC). ZimVAC is a consortium of Government, UN agencies, NGOs and other International Organisations. These stakeholders contribute towards annual and other assessments in various capacities such as financial, personnel, vehicles and technical skills. The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee is chaired by the Food and Nutrition Council (FNC), a department in the Office of the President and Cabinet, housed at the Scientific and Industrial Research Development Centre (SIRDC). Since its inception in 2001, ZimVAC has conducted 4 urban and 13 rural livelihoods assessments.

Guiding National Policy Commitments and legislation

The work of ZimVAC provides guidance for a practical way forward for fulfilling the following existing national commitments:

  • The Food and Nutrition Security Policy that was developed through a broad consultative process
  • The Government of Zimbabwe’s 1998 Cabinet decision and the Research Act which established the Food and Nutrition Council whose work includes coordination of ZimVAC
  • Millennium Development Goal targets such as the reduction of poverty and under nutrition by half by 2015 (MDG 1). Other MDGs such as reducing child and maternal mortality remain central
  • The Medium Term Plan 2011-2015 which places economic growth and development as critical. The achievement of food and nutrition security is considered central towards this goal.
  • Zimbabwe is signatory to the legally binding International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). According to Article 11 of the ICESCR, “every human being has the right to adequate food and the fundamental right to be free from hunger”

ZimVAC Mandate

The mandate of ZimVAC is to generate information on the Zimbabwean population’s livelihoods, in particular their vulnerability to food insecurity and other socio-economic factors. The information is used in planning, programming and decision making by Government and its development partners.

ZimVAC aims at ensuring a national integrated food and nutrition security information system that provides timely and reliable information on the food and nutrition security situation and the effectiveness of programmes and informs decision making.

Core business and functions of ZimVAC

The committee acts as the convener and coordinator of national food and nutrition security issues in Zimbabwe and charts a practical way forward for fulfilling legal and existing policy commitments in food and nutrition security. ZimVAC also advises government on strategic directions in food and nutrition security. It undertakes a “watchdog role”, supports and facilitates action to ensure commitments in food and nutrition are kept on track by different sectors through the following core functions:

  • Undertakes food and nutrition assessments, analyses and research
  • Promotes multi-sectoral and innovative approaches for addressing food and nutrition security and
  • Supports and builds national capacity for food and nutrition security including at sub-national levels.

The system comprises of broadly 5 components which are Baseline assessments, annual assessments, early warning and surveillance, rapid assessments and research. FNC ensures that ZimVAC functions effectively to ensure consensus and collaboration on design, implementation and analysis of results. FNC, on behalf of ZimVAC provides synthesized analysis of findings in quarterly bulletins and will establish a repository of all food and nutrition security information

The Household Food Security Analysis

The assessment recognises that food security comprises of three pillars;
1. Food availability
The national and sub-national situation is built from secondary data, particularly from the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development’s Crop and Livestock Assessments, GMB stock levels, Private Sector stocks, the humanitarian pipeline and household level production and stocks from the survey data.

2. Household access
It is assessed by estimating a households’ ability to access enough food to meet 2100 kilo calories per person per day for each of its members over the consumption period running from 1 April to 31 March using all the income sources at the household’s disposal

3. Utilisation
It is assessed by establishing the household’s access to safe water, access to improved sanitation facilities, household food consumption patterns.


Assessment Schedule

Normally planning for the annual livelihoods assessment commences in January of each year with resource mobilisation. This is followed by a consultative process for the development of data collection tools. Field work which includes data collection and analysis usually takes place from May to June of each year. The finalised report is then presented to Cabinet and then disseminated to national, provincial and district level stakeholders.


Assessment Products

  • A National Technical Report
  • National Power point presentations
  • National disseminations
  • Provincial and district presentations
  • A comprehensive household level data set

Food safety and nutrition standards compliance is at the heart of operation in this programme. FNC aims to promote best practices based on a solid scientific foundations of food safety through strengthened multi-sectoral co-ordination around food safety and nutrition standards compliance and accompanying control systems.

This includes the formulation and review of standards and regulations, as well as putting in place the necessary monitoring and surveillance systems to support them. To date, successes include the coordinating multiple stakeholders efforts in the formulation of a 5-year National Nutrition Strategy with comprehensive budget, and in the development of a project document and discussion on Bio-fortification for submission to Codex Alimentarius, international guidelines aimed at ensuring good and safe food for everyone, everywhere.

FNC would also like to encourage innovative approaches in food and nutrition security. A recent effort is the formulation of a Community-based Multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Security Programme, formulated to customize responses to food and nutrition security challenges at grassroots community, giving beneficiaries a sense of ownership of such interventions.

Regionally and internationally, Zimbabwe remains committed to its engagement in collective initiatives, contribution to global policy development and structures that to support food and nutrition security. Above all, it is to provide all necessary training and education and information to promote uptake of and compliance to national food safety and nutrition standards.

To download Food Safety and Nutrition Standards, click here.

Historically, approaches to food and nutrition security were often segmented, with nutrition security often lagging behind agricultural production. The establishment of the Food and Nutrition Council, and the later formulation the Food and Nutrition Security Policy, formally introduced the combined approach to food and nutrition security; where nutrition is now also being viewed as an input to economic development as opposed to an output of that; as well as the multi-sectoral approach now adapted in the coordination of all national action in the fight against food insecurity and malnutrition, in Zimbabwe.

The policy’s accompanying implementation strategy details activities that span from Cabinet level, through a Standing Cabinet Committee on Food and Nutrition Security, right down to Sub-District Food and Nutrition Security Committees, with several multi-stakeholder co-ordination platforms in-between, the national priority of effecting change at household are well within reach.

Zimbabwe’s long-term commitment to prioritizing food and nutrition security through multi-sectoral action has been further emphasized through the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimASSET), an economic blueprint which identifies priority areas to be addressed for effective economic recovery. This document is also another firm foundation on which stakeholders from a variety of previously seemingly unrelated sectors can engage, build partnerships and chart comprehensive approaches to food and nutrition security.

Internationally, an important demonstration of Zimbabwe’s multi-sectoral approaches include joining the SUN Movement, a global multi-sectoral platforms addressing nutrition security. SUN Zimbabwe networks include an array of participants from government, UN and donor agencies, civil society, academia, media and the business sectors among other, all focussed on the common goal of nutrition security.

At national levels, several home-grown solutions are being applied to ensure that discussion platforms centred on food and nutrition security are well-rounded, representative and penetrate the necessary sectors, for more holistic action.

High-level multi-sectoral platforms include the Standing Cabinet Committee on Food and Nutrition Security, Working Party of Permanent Secretaries on Food and Nutrition Security, which both constitute representation of the following key ministries identified as pivotal to national food and nutrition security efforts:

  • Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Vice Chairperson)
  • Health and Child Care
  • Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
  • Finance and Economic Development
  • Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development
  • Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
  • Lands and Rural Settlement
  • Higher and Tertiary Educationlopment
  • Primary and Secondary Education
  • Small to Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development
  • Tourism and Hospitality Industry
  • Transport Infrastructural Development
  • Industry and Commerce
  • Environment, Water and Climate

Functioning (multi-sectoral) Food and Nutrition Security Committees at Provincial and District levels

  • Development of an Implementation Plan for the resuscitation, capacity enhancement and ongoing technical support for FNSCs. This will lead to the resuscitation of 3 Urban Provincial FNSCs and 22 District FNSCs
  • Convening of FNSC meetings as well stakeholder engagement for priority activity planning within the National Committee
  • Review and Consolidation of Provincial and District FNSC Quarterly Updates to include the latest feedback
  • Food Aid Working Group
  • Monitoring of the functionality of FNSC activities

Sector specific food and nutrition security policies, and guidance tools; strategic alliances and community mechanisms that reflect and re-enforce a broad based multi-sectoral approach to food and nutrition insecurity

  • Healthy Harvest dissemination to FNSCs and Trainings in 12 Districts.
  • Develop an Implementation plan for Community-based Multi-sectoral Food and Nutrition Programme to include; Sensitisation Trainings; Implementation and Monitoring and Evaluation.
  • Identify Context Specific drivers of Stunting and food and nutrition insecurity.
  • Conduct Resource Gap Analysis for District FNSCs.
  • Support partner-initiated multi-sectoral food and nutrition security programmes.
  • Actively participate in regional and global meetings and contribute to multi-sectoral food and nutrition security initiatives in the regional and international arena.
  • Improve coordination and linkages with academic and research institutions for documentation of best practice in multi-sectoral food and nutrition security programming and the establishment of a working group to this effect.

Development of monitoring tools and demonstration of best-practice

  • Develop an overall guidance material for critical sectors relevant to multi-sectoral food and nutrition security action
  • Monitoring of major FNS programme and their impact on national food and nutrition security
  • Finalize and implement the monitoring framework for FNSCs
  • Establishment of a database of FNSCs and their activities

Strengthened national capacity through in-service training on multi-sectoral approaches

Conduct a curriculum review of major tertiary institutions providing training that relates to food and nutrition security (University of Zimbabwe, Midlands State University and Chinhoyi University of Technology) to produce a review document which will inform further action, including the establishment collaborative structures with academic institutions and the formation of an Association to that effect.

Internationally, the work of FNC is guided by Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which states; “every human being has the right to adequate food and the fundamental right to be free from hunger”. The Government of Zimbabwe also set itself national targets through the Millennium Development Goals, including reducing poverty, under-nutrition, child and maternal mortality.

Regionally, Zimbabwe has committed to the following frameworks:

  •  SADC Food and Nutrition Security Framework
  • Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
  • Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Framework.

At a national level, the Zimbabwe Constitution of 2012 defines food and nutrition security as a national human right. Zimbabwe’s high level commitment to food and nutrition security is further reflected in two main national policies; the Food and Nutrition Security Policy as well as the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimASSET).

FNC was mandated by the Government to develop a national Food and Nutrition Security Policy, through a broad consultative process. Adopted by Cabinet and launched in 2013, the policy includes a number of commitments, strategic objectives and accountabilities summarised by the following commitments:

Regionally, Zimbabwe has committed to the following frameworks:

  •  1. Policy analysis and advice
  • 2. Agriculture and food security
  • 3. Social assistance and social protection
  •  4. Food Safety and standards
  • 5. Nutrition security
  • 6. Food and nutrition security information, assessment and early warning
  • 7. Enhancing and strengthening national capacity for food and nutrition security

The Council is therefore responsible for ensuring that this Policy is supported and implemented through relevant Ministries and partners.

The recently developed economic blue print, ZimASSET outlines the vision of empowering the Zimbabwean society and growing the economy through the following broad and strategic clusters:

  •  1. Food Security and Nutrition
  • 2. Social Services and Poverty Eradication
  •  3. Infrastructure and Utilities
  • 4. Value addition and Beneficiation

It is within this context that FNC strives to ensure that the best interests of national food and nutrition security are reflected in and supported through policy and economic trends analysis that will best inform national decision-makers. It is through the Food and Nutrition Security Advisory Group (FNSAG), a high level forum for strategic dialogue for multiple stakeholders, that work of FNC in this regard informs strategic direction and resource mobilization nationally.

In an effort to promote Food and Nutrition security in global, regional and national economic and development agendas through policy analysis and advice, and coordination of the implementation of Food and Nutrition Security Policy and ZimASSET, and ensure that Zimbabwe is informed and informs global and regional policy networks and initiatives, FNC will undertake the following activities in 2015:

  • Co-ordination and facilitation of the review of relevant policies
  • Participation in the formulation and finalization of policies as and when these are initiated by relevant sectors.
    Examples of these include the
    – Livestock Policy being finalized by the Ministry of Agriculture
    – The Community Development Policy
    – Social Protection Policy
  • Engagement of academic institutions to conduct research on emerging food and nutrition issues
  • Active participation in ZimASSET Food and Nutrition Cluster meetings
  • Participation in Expo Milano 2015 planning meetings