The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alh. Sabo Nanono, has said addressing malnutrition in the country and meeting the nutrition targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) would inject additional $29 billion into Nigeria’s national income.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Agriculture in the ministry, Engr. Frank Satumari Kudla, disclosed this at a press conference on the forthcoming HarvestPlus Nutritious Food Fair(NFF) 2019, held at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture(IITA), Ibadan.
“Addressing malnutrition challenges is not only social service but an economic strategy,” he said.
Nanono further stated that the federal government is committed to investment in nutrition interventions with more resources being channeled to nutrition research and information technology.
The NFF is an annual event organized by HarvestPlus and its sectoral partners including IITA, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the private sector to raise the awareness needed to change the narrative of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The programme will hold from November 13 to November 15, with over 10,000 participants from eight countries expected to take part in the three-day programme.
HarvestPlus’ Country Director, Dr. Paul Ilona, said participants mostly from across Nigeria are expected to take part in the fair themed ‘Nutrition is everyone’s business.”
“It will feature panel discussions, scientific presentations, and exhibition of business opportunities to increase investments in the nutritious food sector,” he explained.
Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General for Partnerships and Delivery, commended HarvestPlus for its efforts to end malnutrition. He said that the problem of malnutrition was that it limits the potential abilities of children.
“We have a major problem of malnutrition in Nigeria, children cannot reach their full potential. This makes me sad.
“And we must look for ways to solve this,” he said
Dashiell stressed that NFF provides opportunity for stakeholders to take joint action against malnutrition.
This year’s NFF, which is the fifth edition, will bring together key nutrition stakeholders in the public and private sectors, including donors and Ambassadors to show progress made so far in biofortification; galvanize new opportunities for growth and build new capacities across the nutritious food value chains, which will contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 1, 2 and 3) targets for Nigeria.
Highlights of the NFF will include: Innovations in nutrition showcasing biofortified crops like vitamin A cassava, vitamin A maize, Orange Sweet Potato, iron beans and pearl millet to improve health; Opportunities for small and medium scale (SME) investors to diversify, increase returns on investment and create employment in the fast growing nutritious food sector; Exhibition of nutritious foods by small, medium and large scale food processors and opportunities to engage new distributors and retailers; Exhibition of quality seeds by small, medium and large scale seed companies and opportunities to engage new agri-input dealers and retailers; Exhibition of farm and food processing equipment for SMEs in the nutritious food sector and training on equipment maintenance and Grassroots quiz-line to enhance nutrition and SME education for secondary school students
HarvestPlus, coordinated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. In Nigeria, it promotes cassava that provides more vitamin A in the diet, working with almost 40 partners drawn from government, business and civil society.