FG Launches National Food Programme to Tackle Malnutrition
To tackle malnutrition in Nigeria, the Federal Government, in partnership with HarvestPlus, a global agricultural firm, on Tuesday, unveiled the first National Biofortification Recipe document, put together to help mitigate malnutrition across the country.
HarvestPlus leads a global movement that aims to rapidly scale up production and consumption of biofortified staple crops and foods made with them.
Speaking at the unveiling of the recipe in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mahmood Abubakar, said the document would provide adequate information for household food diversification, dietary diversity and healthy eating.
He said the commercialisation efforts of biofortified food crops programme by the government had paid off, as most of the food items had been tested and certified to be highly nutritious, and would serve as tool to addressing the micro-nutrient needs of Nigerians.
The minister, who was represented by the Director Tree Crops, at the agric ministry, Bernard Ukata, said, “Like many other African countries, the nutrition situation in Nigeria is a concern. Stunting and wasting rates are 37 per cent and seven per cent respectively.
“Key micro-nutrients such as Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and Iodine have been equally identified to be deficient in foods consumed by vulnerable groups in Nigeria. Also, less than half of the children in Nigeria enough rich fortified foods.
“There is growing concern that the prevalence of child stunting, wasting and micro-nutrients deficiencies are expected to be on the increase.”
Abubakar, however, stated that considering the existing partnership between the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and HarvestPlus in research, multiplication and commercialisation of biofortified staple food crops in Nigeria, “I have no doubt that together, the aforementioned challenges are surmountable.”
He added, “My ministry is leaving no stone unturned to nip the situation in the bud. The FMARD, within the context of the new National Agricultural Technology Innovative Policy, is prioritising nutrition.”