The Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), have launched a dissemination strategy for the SUN Business Network (SBN) – a key part of the global Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement – in a bid to improve nutrition nationwide.

According to the Food Security and Nutrition Information Bureau of Cambodia, the virtual launch in late May was attended by 115 participants.

Sok Silo – CARD secretary-general and country coordinator for the SUN Movement – said the Cambodia programme consists of four main networks. These include the UN network led by the WFP, the donor network led by the German embassy in Phnom Penh, the civil society network led by the Foundation for International Development/Relief (FIDR) and the SBN network led by CARD.

“SBN is a forum for the private sector to take part in the promotion of nutrition through commitment, investment, meetings to discuss and exchange experiences, ideas and new initiatives. We hope it will inspire others to join,” he said.

Silo added that the network will also be a forum where participants can learn from each other and improve the operations and processes of their businesses. The participation of the private sector was of vital importance in promoting nutrition and healthy, sustainable diets as part of socio-economic development.

According to the food security bureau, the private sector has a presence in all stages of the food system, ranging from food product, supply chains, processing, the introduction of new products and product marketing.

“Food supply chains and consumer attitudes are interconnected and have strong connections to the private sector, and these relationships have serious impacts on diet and nutrition,” it said.

It added that the private sector has an important role in promoting nutrition in Cambodia through a variety of food production activities, and offering a mix of dishes that are nutritious, safe and affordable. The supply of materials and the provision of services that help promote hygienic measures and public health are also heavily influenced by the private sector. These two areas positively impact nutritional outcomes.

In addition, some private companies are beginning to fortify daily food basics such as milled rice, fish sauce and soy sauce. This is important intervention which promotes public nutrition – and thus, productivity – it added.

“The implementation of nutrition programmes in the workplace – especially for companies with large workforces such as garment and footwear factories – is of real importance in promoting health and improving work efficiency,” said the bureau.