Despite heavy rains, hundreds of students, farmers, lecturers, and parents gathered at the Central Farm Research Station, Cayo District to learn about the benefits of locally produced food and how it impacts healthy lifestyles which help to prevent and control diseases that are highly affecting Belizeans today.
Organized by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization, INCAP, Food and Agriculture Organization, The National Food and Nutrition Security Commission and other key actors, World Food Day was the special event on 14 October 2011.
At a booth set up by PAHO, students and the community were informed on what is a good meal using food samples and displays so that they could choose their meals of the day, and select a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the students said that he had learned more than at school.
Brochures on physical activity, healthy lifestyles, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and cancers were also disseminated. An elderly man walking on the mud, under the rain, said that these brochures will be his reading material on his leisure time and he will definitely teach his grandchildren.
During the same week at Open Your Eyes, morning television show at Channel 5, Belize City, Ms. Evelyn Roldan, INCAP Coordinator/PAHO, highlighted this year’s World Food Day theme “Food Prices from Crisis to Stability” and the promotion of locally produced food and the importance of food and nutrition security in Belize. Local radio stations also aired the World Food Day Jingle to promote this event.
Various cultural groups promoted their local dishes and products from north, south, and western regions; with the purpose that agriculture is the way to go in order to secure food in Belize. The conch soup which is rich with local ingredients consists of flour, onions, sweet pepper, cilantro, garlic, water, potatoes, carrots, celery, cabbage, coconut rice, plantain and conch – all grown in Belize.
According to Dr. Mirta Roses, PAHO Director, there are successful approaches for fighting poverty, neglected diseases, and social inequities by preserving and promoting biodiversity and the agricultural practices of native peoples; rediscovering traditional, local, and indigenous knowledge; and embracing that knowledge and its potential to inform the new practices and lessons learned about food and nutrition security and environmental protection.
The Pan American Health Organization, which is the Regional Office in the Americas of the World Health Organization, was founded in 1902, and works with all countries of the Americas to improve the health and quality of life of their peoples. The PAHO/WHO Country Office in Belize was established in the 1950s.
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