Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, said that addressing malnutrition and meeting nutrition targets of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) would inject additional $29 billion into Nigeria’s national income.
Nanono, who was represented by the Director of Agriculture, Frank Satumari, said at a press conference at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, that addressing malnutrition challenges is not only social service but economic strategy.
Meanwhile, Federal Government, the Nollywood celebrities, Oyo State government and Nestle have endorsed the 2019 Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) aimed at combatting malnutrition especially among women and children.
The NFF is an annual event organised by HarvestPlus and its sectoral partners including International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the private sector to raise the awareness needed to change the narrative of malnutrition in Nigeria.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General for Partnerships and Delivery, commended HarvestPlus for its efforts to end malnutrition. He said that the problem of malnutrition was that it limits the potential abilities of children.
“We have a major problem of malnutrition in Nigeria. children cannot reach their full potential. This makes me sad. And we must look for ways to solve this. The NFF provides opportunity for stakeholders to take joint action against malnutrition.”
According to HarvestPlus, this year’s NFF will converge all key nutrition stakeholders from the public and private sectors including donors and Ambassadors to show progress made so far in biofortification ; galvanize new opportunities for growth and build new capacities across the nutritious food value chains, which will contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1, 2 and 3) targets for Nigeria.
Highlights of the NFF event coming up next month include: Innovations in nutrition showcasing biofortified crops like vitamin A cassava, vitamin A maize, Orange Sweet Potato, iron beans and pearl millet to improve health; Opportunities for small and medium scale (SME) investors to diversify, increase returns on investment and create employment in the fast growing nutritious food sector; Exhibition of nutritious foods by small, medium and large scale food processors and opportunities to engage new distributors and retailers; Exhibition of quality seeds by small, medium and large scale seed companies and opportunities to engage new agri-input dealers and retailers; Exhibition of farm and food processing equipment for SMEs in the nutritious food sector and training on equipment maintenance and grassroots quiz-line to enhance nutrition and SME education for secondary school students HarvestPlus, coordinated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. In Nigeria, it promotes cassava that provides more vitamin A in the diet, working with almost 40 partners drawn from government, business and civil society.