Hawassa University held the Second National Nutrition and Food Industries conference at Lewi Resort in Hawassa

Hawassa University held the Second National Nutrition and Food Industries conference at Lewi Resort, Hawassa City, from Feb 23rd – 24th, 2017 under the theme: ''Capacity building, Employment and Job creation for Better Nutrition and Sustainable Development in Ethiopia'' hosted by the Academic Center of Excellence in Human Nutrition, School of Nutrition, Food Science & Technology, College of Agriculture, Hawassa University.

The opening speech made by Dr. Eng. Fisseha Getachew, the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University. After that, scholars presented research works, and discussion was made for two days concerning ways to create jobs, capacity building and create employment opportunity for the Youth. The attendees included representatives from other Universities, Government Organizations, NGOs, and Food Industries, associations, students and invited guests.

A representative from the Ministry of Health confirmed that career structure for Nutrition Graduates is major problem and assured that the conference has multifaceted importance. “Although our graduates in Food Nutritional Sciences have been in market for the last ten years; there is no suitable carrier structure that can accommodate them in all relevant sectors," quoted Dr. Aweke Kebede the initial keynote message sent from the Federal Ministry of Health But, nowadays, the government and stakeholders are working together to address the problem of career structure and also demonstrated policy commitment to mainstream nutrition by incorporating indicators into government five years Growth and Transformation Plan II. In addition, I hope, this conference will provide a solution to such professional problems ....”

The conference did bring together more than 200 scholars from different organizations in Ethiopia. Some of the key areas discussed on the event include: Nutrition training in Ethiopia: achievements and ways forward, Food Science Training in Ethiopia: achievements and ways forward, Draft Food and Nutrition Policy of Ethiopia, Introduction to the CGIAR Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Program, Food systems for healthier diets in Ethiopia: review and research agenda, How to catalyze food systems research, innovations and actions for healthier and sustainable diets in Ethiopia? Oral and poster presentations were made by key experts in the areas including: Prof. Tefera Belachew, Dr. Yewelsew Abebe, Dr. Habtamu Fekadu, Dr. Kebede Abegaz, Dr. Namukolo Covic, Dr. Inge Brouwer, Dr. Kaleab Baye and Dr. Roseline Remans.

Mr. Fikadu Reta, Head of School of Nutrition, Food Science and Technology, said that the University has created strong collaboration with national and international Universities to support its effort for quality education. On top of that, it has scored remarkable achievements in research and community related services, he said. Due to these and the capacity it built to lead human nutrition related academic issues in Ethiopia, Hawassa University was selected as an Academic Center of Excellence for Human Nutrition in Ethiopia in 2015 from all Ethiopian Universities Offering Nutrition Training. The Academic Center of Excellence selection process was done through the USAID/Feed the Future financial support.

According to Mr. Fikadu, Some of the roles of the center are: leading nutrition related academic issues, facilitating information exchange and discussion in order to advise policy makers related to human nutrition; hosting national conferences to bring all stake holders together to discuss national issues related to human nutrition and delivering standard trainings in the area.

Major sponsors of the conference were: Federal Ministry of Health, The Research and Technology Transfer office of Hawassa University, GIZ, USAID/JHPEIGO, Save the Children,, Biodiversity International, Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), Anchor and Danone.

For the proceeding of the 1st and 2nd National Nutrition Conference, Hawassa University, Ethiopia please click here

By:-Sileshi Negash

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