RUTF: UNICEF calls for collaboration on local production

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for collaboration between the Federal Government, research institutes and private sector for local production of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for malnourished children.

The Chief Nutritionist, UNICEF Nigeria, Dr Simeon Nanama, made the call on Monday in Abuja.

Nanama said that the RUTF production was still lower than its demands in the country, adding that the first local production was in Lagos state in 2017 with about 15,000 cartons capacity per month.

He said the major problem for the aflatoxin free peanuts production in Nigeria was that its raw materials are being imported.

“The full local production is having the plant and sourcing the raw material in the country.”

The Chief Nutritionist said that the peanut needed for RUFT production must be ‘aflatoxin free’ as peanut with toxin could not be used to develop medicine for children.

“This is the area I believe Nigeria can do a lot of work with the ministry of agriculture, private sector and research institutes, to ensure that at some point in time, Nigeria can produce aflatoxin free peanuts,” he said.

Nanama said if other countries like South Africa can produce these peanut, Nigeria can also produce it.

NAN reports that aflatoxin is poisonous carcinogens that are produced by certain moulds which grow in soil.

He said that over the years, UNICEF had supported government to prevent and address problem of malnutrition in the country.

He added that the organisation was providing technical assistance to the stakeholders, including private sector, to ensure local production of RUTF.

“There are private people who are interested in the production, we are in touch with them and trying to support them with the required technical support,” he said.

Bilkisu Pai