The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Honourable Marie Jalloh described the course as an answer to the demands expressed by government as well as non-governmental organisations working in the field of Food and Nutrition Security and related programmes.
“Introducing nutrition courses and the right to food for students reading agriculture and related courses will put the graduates in a better position in contributing towards addressing food and nutrition insecurity in the country,” she said.
Honourable Jalloh stated that exposing the students to the concept of nutrition and the right to food will put them in a better position to be able to pass on good nutrition messages to the farmers they will be working with and the farmers in turn will produce crops that are nutritious for the family and society.
She reaffirmed government’s commitment in ensuring the sustainability of the course.
The Chief Technical Adviser for FNS&RtF Project, Dr. Margaret Wagah explained that the course will prepare the students with the required skills for the job market globally and also for sustainable development.
“Agriculture is potentially one of the sectors that can transform Sierra Leone’s socio economic development …this is a good platform for linking agriculture for improved nutritional status,” she stated.
The Vice Chancellor of Njala University, Professor Ernest Ndomahina expressed excitement over the support provided by FAO for introducing the course in the university.
Professor Ndomahina acknowledged that the course will empower graduates from the university to impart better nutritional habit into people in the various communities they will be serving in the country.
“In the past, the main emphases were on production system and our traditions and cultures have often restricted and sharpened our appetite for certain staple food ignoring the others,” he said.
Consultations for the introduction of FNS&RtF started in 2013 among FAO, Njala University, key line ministries and partners. In October 2015, FAO trained twenty three academic staff from the schools of Agriculture, Social Sciences, Education and Community Health Sciences in the course area and supplied the university with up-to-date teaching materials.
The course will be compulsory for students in the School of Agriculture, especially the Institute of Food Technology, Nutrition and Consumer Studies and optional for those in another disciplines.
A twelve-day combined teaching and methodology seminar which aims, among other things, to spur the interest of first year students for whom FNS & RtF is optional and assess the understanding of the topics and the appropriateness of the methodologies is being held in the Mokonde & Bo campuses