• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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GAIN calls for collaboration to strengthen Nigeria’s nutrition efforts


The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has called for increased collaboration among players across the food value chain to strengthen the country’s efforts at tackling malnutrition.

Lawrence Haddad, executive director at GAIN said at the SUN Business Network Nigeria annual members convening, themed ‘Building a National Collaborative Mechanism for Nutrition in Nigeria: A Catalyst for Change’ held recently in Lagos.

Read also: FG partners GAIN, others on food systems transformation, improve nutrition

Haddad stated that partnerships among stakeholders in the food sector are important in tackling malnutrition in the country, saying it will help accelerate progress in solving the problem.

According to him, GAIN is celebrating entrepreneurs who are producing nutritious food and supporting them to produce the food at affordable prices by using small package sizes and shorter value chains to help tackle Nigeria’s amplifying cost of living crisis.

Read also: Examining GAIN’s initiatives in reducing malnutrition

“The Nigerian government has done a good job of raising the profile on the importance of food security and nutrition. They could do a little bit more by raising the profile of nutritious foods like fish, eggs, dairy, and fruits and vegetables,” he said.

“I think now they have gotten everyone’s attention and given it a high priority, they need to quickly develop a plan that has three of five simple elements in it that we can all rally behind – the government, development partners, and private sector,” he added.

Tomisin Odunmbaku, national coordinator of the SUN Business Network said the theme speaks to the need for concerted efforts and strategic partnerships to accelerate meaningful progress in making affordable healthier diets available and accessible.

He stated that with 133 million people classified as multidimensionally poor and over 100 million children lacking adequate intellectual stimulation, nutrition remains a fundamental driver of poverty across all regions.

He noted that despite the extensive investments and interventions in addressing malnutrition, the indicators have unfortunately worsened over the past decade.

“This underscores the urgent need for collective action, with the private sector, including the 39 million MSMEs in Nigeria and our esteemed 397 SBN members playing a crucial role,” he said.

Also, Micheal Ojo, country director of GAIN Nigeria, said that there are lots of investments from GAIN and other organisations going into the country’s agricultural landscape to support the system to focus on ensuring that people can afford and access healthier foods.

Ojo noted that several shocks affecting the country’s food system have limited the impact of the support coming into the sector.

“We can see the impact of climate change. In several production areas in the country, the soil quality is less and weather incidents are more uncertain and unpredictable, affecting productivity. We have a major problem of insecurity, which has meant a lot of cultivable lands have not been put to use because of insecurity,” he said.

He stated that despite these challenges, GAIN is supporting food entrepreneurs to produce affordable and accessible nutritious food by investing in biofortified crops like Vitamin A cassava, maize and orange-fleshed potatoes.

“Encouraging increased production of bio-fortified crops means that those who are growing those crops have access to them, but also becomes more available to go into production for markets.”