• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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FG partners GAIN, others on food systems transformation, improve nutrition


To reverse the ugly trend and poor statistics of Nigeria and burdens of malnutrition, the Federal Government is collaborating with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and other development partners to transform Nigeria food systems and deliver nutritious foods for Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable groups.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Abubakar said this at the official launching of Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples (SNIPS) Project in Abuja on Thursday.

SNIPS is a 5-year that will be implemented in the four states of Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa and Oyo, to improve the access and consumption of safe and nutritious foods in Nigeria, particularly the consumption of four major priority staples; Cassava, Maize, Rice and Potato.

The Agriculture Minister who was represented by the Head of Horticulture, Omotosho Agbani said to achieve a hunger-free Nigeria through an agricultural sector that drive income growth, accelerates achievement of food and nutrition security, generates employment and transforms Nigeria into a leading player In global food markets, and grow wealth for millions of farmers, there is need to grow the sector by continuous support and strengthening of the priority value chains.

“I am happy that GAIN and its development partners, especially Green Innovation Centre for the Agricultural and Food Sectors (GIC) in Nigeria, is working to bring innovations that will contribute to smallholder farmer livelihoods and sustainable rural development.

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“The Ministry’s action plan is focusing majorly on the following priority agricultural commodities within the agricultural zones of the country: rice, cassava, sorghum, cocoa, cotton, maize, dairy, beef, leather, poultry, oil palm, fisheries/aquaculture as well as nutrition and agricultural extension. This plan is being implemented by the value chains of these commodities.

“Household food security as well as access to adequate basic health services are essential for good nutrition. As we all know, malnutrition slows down economic and social development. but improved nutrition is key to a healthy and productive life. cognitive development in our children. higher productivity and total wellbeing of individuals”, the Minister said.

In his remarks, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule said his administration will continue to partner with organisations such as GAIN towards achieving food security and improved nutrition in the Solid Minerals State which has comparative advantage in agriculture.

Represented by his Special Adviser on NGOs and Development Partners, Munira Abdullahi, Sule said there were several programmes and initiatives of the government to support smallholder farmers by improving their capabilities towards sustainable agriculture.

“It’s been something that the government has been working on and I know that with that there will be deliberate efforts towards ensuring that the food that is produced is more nutritious. In fact, there will be more food production and as such it will bridge the gap between having access to junk food and nutritious food…the government has provided an enabling environment. We have several giants in the agriculture industry that have come to invest in Nasarawa State such as Dangote and floor meal of Nigeria”, the Governor stated.

GAIN Nigeria Country Director, Michael Ojo said the organisation will partner with GIZ and the Green Innovation Centre for the Agricultural and Food Sector in Nigeria, with support from the German Government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to jointly implement the Project in Nigeria.

Ojo said project will achieve the targeted outcomes through workforce nutrition, biofortification and business Support, noting that the strategies will drive increased consumption of nutritious foods by smallholder farmers, their families, and the wider population; strengthen Vitamin A Cassava, Vitamin A Maize, Rice and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) value chains and improve productivity.

“Ensuring food and nutrition security is one of the most pressing challenges for sustainable social and economic development in Nigeria. Meeting this need presents an important opportunity for tackling malnutrition. Diets of rural Nigerians are particularly poor, and many Nigerians currently experience vitamin and mineral deficiencies leading to severe health outcomes including premature and preventable death especially in under 5-year children.

“Thus, the Strengthening Nutrition Project will build on the key pathways adopted by the country for the post-summit transformation of our food systems including biofortification, building the capacity of small and medium sized businesses through the business support component, and increasing the opportunities for women and young people to be engaged in profitable enterprise and for nutrition security through these interventions”, he added.