The government through the National Food and Nutrition Council has started engaging chiefs in order to address stunted growth among children which remains high due to poor diet.

Following the adoption of a multi-sectoral community based approach by the government in addressing stunted growth among children below the age of 5, traditional leaders have been called upon to lead in implementing initiatives that address malnutrition in their areas.

Chief Tshovani of Chiredzi is one of the traditional leaders already leading by example in addressing malnutrition as he has introduced nutritional gardens in his area, encouraging people around to follow suit.

“The problem of stunting is prevalent among the rural communities due to a number of factors including poverty and lack of knowledge, so it is important for us to teach them on sustainable ways like introducing nutritional gardens as they also benefit them financially,” he said.

The National Food and Nutrition Council team, which visited Chief Tshovani’s area, said stunting remains prevalent among children due to poor diet, repeated infections and poor water and sanitation conditions.

“Stunting remains prevalent among children in Zimbabwe and by introducing a multi-sectorial community based approach, we are trying to improve nutrition security by involving all parties as we implement the bottom up approach which is sustainable for communities,” said Lloyd Chadzingwa.

Statistics show that 26 % of Zimbabwean children under the age of 5 are stunted due to malnutrition.

However, the figure represents an improvement compared to 35 % 8 years ago.

In Masvingo Province 26.9 % of the children are stunted with Bikita District leading by 29.9 % and Chiredzi having the lowest at 24 %.