The Federal Government and Harvestplus, an NGO have urged all stakeholders and Nigerians to make nutrition a daily business to tackle the menace of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, made the call at the 2019 Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
The NFF theme was: “Nutrition is Everybody’s Business”.
Nanono underscored the need for all stakeholders to ensure that food and nutrition security was guaranteed in the country.
The minister, represented by a Deputy Director in the ninistry, Dr Bernard Ukatta, remarked that the Federal Government through the ministry worked tirelessly to achieve food and nutrition security in earnest time.
He commended Harvestplus and partners for their efforts in working to combat malnutrition in Nigeria.
The IITA Deputy Director, Dr Ken Henshaw said the food fair would tackle the menace of malnutrition being one of the major problems facing children in Nigeria.
He said that IITA, Harvestplus and partners had the passion, mission to improve health and nutrition of people globally and in Nigeria.
“To be able to see the change in people’s lives, especially in children, all hands must be on deck to tackle this menace in Nigeria,” he said.
The Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Sen. Bima Enagi, said that combating malnutrition was the top agenda of the Federal Government.
He urged Harvestplus, IITA and partners to work together with the senate committee on agriculture by supporting them scientifically to make policies that would tackle the menace of malnutrition in the country.
“We need more of bio fortified crops, especially rice, which is the most staple food we have,” he said.
Earlier, the Harvestplus Chief Executive Officer, Mr Arun Baral said the purpose of the NFF was to engage likeminded partners to address the challenge of malnutrition through the building of nutritious crops.
He commended IITA and other partners for their efforts in taking bio-fortification to the next level in Nigeria.
“We believe Nigeria can be a role model to the rest of Africa in the leading of food and nutrition security, after the NFF,” he said.
Harvestplus Country Manager, Dr Paul Ilona said the Harvestplus Nigeria team included vitamin A cassava, maize breeders, producers, distributors and marketers of bio-fortified crops across the country.
According to him, Harvestplus Nigeria is a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary organisation working together to achieve its goal of tackling malnutrition in the country, through bio-fortification of crops.
The dignitaries at the event were representatives of Oyo State Government, National Root Crop Research Institute, Mac Arthur Foundation, Nestle, Nollywood, among others.
The highlights were the nutri-quiz platform for secondary school students that pose questions on nutrition, agriculture, mathematics and the sponsoring brand, to spur the students’ interest to learn about nutrition and become its champions.
Others were scientific presentations, exhibition, sales, business discussions, demonstrations (agronomy, postharvest, food quality and safety) and entertainments.