Stakeholders advocate increased food nutrition

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By Segun Olaniyi, Abuja

Stakeholders in the health and agricultural sectors have advocated for an increased nutritious food that would combat the problem of malnutrition facing the country particularly in the north-east.

They also decried the use of Genetic Modified Organisms (GMOS) foods which they said would put citizens at risk, adding that they are very much in support of bio-fortification which is a natural process of selecting and embedding nutrients to enrich the mineral contents of a particular type of food.

Speaking at the launch of EAT Lancet Commission Report organised by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), held on Thursday in Abuja, Country Director, GAIN, Dr. Michael Ojo said Nigerian food system is currently not delivering nutritious foods to its 200 million population, adding that six out of 10 Nigerians have difficult access to nutritious food which he said is an issue to Nigeria’s population.

He said the EAT Lancet Commission report brought together an extensive review of the evidence, combining criteria for healthy dietary changes with environmental analyses of food systems impact and proposing recommendations for planetary health diets.

Ojo noted that the commission had proposed five strategies which include policies that would encourage people to choose healthy diets, need to refocus agriculture from producing high volumes of crops to producing varied nutrient-rich crops, effective governance of land and ocean use to preserve natural ecosystems and ensure continued food supplies.

The country director noted that the initial work of GAIN Nigeria was to look at hidden hunger, micro nutrients deficiency and how it can  resolve this on a global scale, stressing that the commission’s strategy was about increasing people’s diet and nutrition in all the countries that GAIN work and beyond globally
According to him, “there has been increased global attention on addressing malnutrition using a food systems approach which has the potential for far reaching impact especially for the most vulnerable

“GAIN Nigeria will continue to work closely with multiple stakeholders including government, private sector, civil society, local and international development partners and consumer groups to understand and adapt the recommended planetary diet in a way that helps to drive sustainable interventions and solutions in the wider food system.”

In his remarks, Professor of Food Science and Technology, Bells University, Prof Olugbenga Ogunmoyela stressed the need for reorientation of Nigerians on healthy living.

Also, senior special adviser to the Minister of Agriculture on Food Security and Nutrition, Dr. Adeyinka Onabolu said government had developed strategy to tackle malnutrition in the country, adding that it has developed strategy on integrated farming system.

Head of Nutrition and Focal Point for Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria in the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu said the ministry supports improved nutritious foods that would help sustain and tackle malnutrition in the country. Vice President, Nigeria Agri-Business Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ijewere noted that government should put in place infrastructure that would help preserve some of the foods that Nigerians do not consume.

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