A top official said food insecurity is at the root of the problem of malnutrition, and the solution requires that everyone joins hands to reduce or eliminate all forms of malnutrition in the Kingdom.

Yim Chhay Ly, deputy prime minister and chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), said improving food security and nutrition are two of the most urgent issues at the sub-national level.

He was speaking at a January 26 meeting to review the 2022 progress and outline the 2023 direction of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in Cambodia.

Chhay Ly called on all stakeholders to work together to reduce or eliminate all forms of malnutrition and other health conditions related to poor diets such as obesity and other non-communicable diseases like diabetes or heart disease.

"Economic and social growth has changed the way Cambodians live and eat. Social behaviours changing has impacted the nutritional status and new challenges are emerging such as overweight or obesity, especially among women of reproductive age. The movement of people to urban area for work has also changed the social structure and support for agriculture,” he said.

He added that Cambodia became the 53rd member of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in 2014, and CARD has played a leading role in coordinating the activities with relevant ministries and institutions to promote food security and nutrition in line with vision and direction of the Second National Strategy for Food Security and Nutrition 2019-2023.

The meeting was attended by donor countries, UN representatives, executives in the private sector, civil society organisations from the SUN Movement and development partners, especially Germany’s international development agency GIZ through the Multisectoral Food and Nutrition Security (MUSEFO).

According to the findings of the Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2021-2022, the stunting rate of children under the age of 5 has dropped from 32 to 22 per cent, and the underweight rate of children under the age of 5 has decreased from 24 to 16 per cent.

Therefore, stakeholders also expressed the expectation that, through the launch of this movement for nutrition in Cambodia, it will lead to the promotion of healthy and safe food production and the modernisation of agriculture and food production chains that can ensure Cambodia's food security into the future.