In 1995, the Inter-sectoral Task Force for Food and Nutrition was launched to recommend sustainable solutions to the persistent and growing problem of hunger and malnutrition in Zimbabwe. At this stage, it had become clear that the health sector alone could not sustainably address these problems. Other sectors needed to be more meaningfully engaged and a legal framework was needed to mandate the sectors implicated in nutrition outcomes to play more proactive roles in meeting food security and nutrition targets, through coordinated multi-sectoral interventions.
Based on the recommendations of the Task Force to address the national priority areas of food and nutrition security, the Ministry of Health, under the leadership of the Dr Timothy Stamps, successfully presented the Food and Nutrition Security Policy framework paper to the Cabinet of the Government of Zimbabwe in 1998.
This framework went on to inform a Cabinet decision to establish a multi-stakeholder Task Force in May 1998 to work towards the eventual establishment of a Food and Nutrition Council (FNC) in 2001.
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From then on, the Food and Nutrition Council has become the lead agency mandated by Government with the responsibilities of coordination, analysis and promotion of a multi-sectoral response to food and nutrition insecurity in Zimbabwe. It was established under the Office of the President and Cabinet, with its legal framework drawn from the Research Council of Zimbabwe Act. Since 2003, the Food and Nutrition Council has been housed at the Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre (SIRDC), Zimbabwe’s Technology Centre.
In keeping with its multi-sectoral nature, the Food and Nutrition Council works closely with Government ministries, quasi-Government institutions/ parastatals, multilateral agencies such as the United Nations and World Bank, regional bodies such including the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), development partners, private sector, farmers’ unions, media, research and tertiary institutions and civil society (including NGOs, faith-based organizations and community-based organizations).