From Olanrewaju Lawal,Birnin Kebbi
The Country Head of Eatsafe Programme in Nigeria, funding by the United States Agency for International Development ( USAID), Dr. Augustine Okoruwa, has disclosed that with the stakeholder’s collaborations, the programme, which are designed to ensure food safety in the Kebbi State markets would corrected the reported statistic of 66.1 percentage of children with malnutrition deficiencies in the state.
Okoruwa, who stated this in Birnin kebbi while briefing newsmen after three days meeting with stakeholders on the programme, noted that, though ,the Eatsafe was not directly to cater for malnutrition, the activities of the programme would eventually ensure safe food containing balance diet, good nutrition for children and adults were made available to general public by food vendors in the markets.
“This project is not about stunted; it is functioning of having good nutrition, having the basic things for growth. And according to 2018 surveying, Kebbi state has the highest number of children with stunted of 66.1% of children in Kebbi state are stunted and that is the function of nutrition on food we eat. This project is related in a way that food we are eating must be safe. If it is not safe, it will cause food born diseases, it will caused you a lot of problem.
“ We are working in-tandem with safety of food in the markets where these children could go and eat their food and that becoming a very critical. Food for the children must be safe. We have nutrition and that is why I say this programme is toward evidence of safe nutrition foods, to tackle stunted, the food must be nutrition. To ensure that the nutrition is delivered to the children, food must be safe. Otherwise, it could result to food born diseases apart from stunted”, he said.
Okoruwa explained that Eatsafe as the project, cannot reverse the 66.1 percent stunted statistic of children in the state stressed that, if all stakeholders agreed and achieved their goals, the project would correct the anomaly in the future.
“This project is addressing food safety. And like I said, if the food is not safe, it is not food at all. What it does is that, in the process of ensure the food is safe, those nutrition foods that the children and adults required are protected, healthily consumed. They must be safe, that is the key.
“We are ensuring that these nutrition foods, that the vendors are selling, are they aware that they need to sell safety food and the consumers are aware that they need to consume safe food and those that are preparing the food, are they preparing it under good hygienic condition? ”.
“Actually Eatsafe programme as has been described, is a programmme to make sure markets provide safe and nutrition food to the people. So they are working in the markets to ensure that all food in the markets are safe.
“The state government is key into the programme because, you know we have very high malnutrition, poor nutrition in the state. So, this malnutrition is attributed to the poor intake or unhygienic food intake. So, one of the key way to ensure that hygienic food is consume is that, the markets will provide very safe food. And that is why this project important to the Kebbi state government.
“Right from the inception of the programme, we have told them explicitly that we want to be carry along right from the onset of the programme. We wouldn’t want a programme that is telo-jacketed to the state that we wouldn’t be able to say that this is the progrmme that was designed by the kebbi state stakeholders.
“Truth to their words, since they started, we have been involved and considered the roles of stakeholders and we hope they we continue to carrying us, the stakeholders along.