Nigeria needs $29 billion to tackle malnutrition, Alh. Sabo Nanono, State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said on Friday.
“Addressing malnutrition challenges is not only social service but economic strategy,” Nanono, who was represented by the Director of Agriculture, Engr. Frank Satumari, said at the press conference held at the in International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan where the Federal Government of Nigeria, Nollywood celebrities, Oyo state government and food giant, Nestle endorsed the 2019 Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) aimed at combatting malnutrition, especially among women and children.
The NFF is an annual event organized by HarvestPlus and its sectoral partners including Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the private sector to raise the awareness needed to change the narrative of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The three-day NFF program will hold from November 13 to November 15 and will be officially opened on November 13 by His Excellency, the Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, in the presence of ministers and top dignitaries.
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,” Dashiell said.
“…And we must look for ways to solve this,” he added, stressing that the NFF provides an opportunity for stakeholders to take joint action against malnutrition.
To show their endorsement to the upcoming event, Nollywood stars represented by Segun Arinze, and Francis Duru joined other partners in IITA to play a novelty football match on Thursday evening in IITA. Nestle also will be participating in the event come November 2019.
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 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.
The 2019 NFF edition is the 5th since it began in 2015. Previous editions were held at Landmark Events Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos (2018); Michael Okpara Square, Enugu in 2017; International Convention Centre, Tinapa, Calabar, Cross River State in 2016; and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja in 2015.
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.