Addressing malnutrition will improve national income -Minister

By Olubunmi Osoteku, Ibadan 


Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Sabo Nanono, has said addressing malnutrition and meeting nutrition targets of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) in the country would inject additional $29 billion into Nigeria’s national income.

Nanono disclosed this as the Oyo government, Nollywood celebrities and food giant, Nestle, endorsed the 2019 Nutritious Food Fair (NFF), aimed at combating malnutrition, especially among women and children.

The NFF, an annual event organized by HarvestPlus and its sectoral partners including the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the private sector, is to raise the awareness needed to change the narrative of malnutrition in Nigeria.

The three-day event, slated for November 13 to 15 will be officially opened on November 13 by Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, alongside top government functionaries and private sector.

Nanono who was represented by the Director of Agriculture, Mr. Frank Satumari, noted that addressing the challenges posed by malnutrition is not only a social service but also an economic strategy.

According to the Country Director, HarvestPlus, Mr. Paul Ilona, over 10,000 participants from eight countries are expected to take part in the fair themed, “Nutrition is everyone’s business”.

He stated that adding that it will feature panel discussions, scientific presentations as well as exhibition of business opportunities. All these aim at increasing investments in the nutritious food sector.

IITA Deputy Director General for Partnerships and Delivery, Dr. Kenton Dashiell, commended HarvestPlus for its efforts to end malnutrition, saying the problem of malnutrition was that it limits the potential abilities of children.

According to HarvestPlus, this year’s NFF will converge all key nutrition stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including donors and ambassadors, to show the progress made so far in biofortification.

Also to galvanize new opportunities for growth and build new capacities across the nutritious food value chains, which would contribute to achieving SDG 1, 2 and 3 targets for Nigeria.

The 2019 NFF edition is the 5th since it began in 2015 with the previous editions held in different parts of the country.