• Thursday, June 13, 2024
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Kebbi to produce first fortified rice in West Africa – Expert

Kebbi to produce first fortified rice in West Africa – Expert

Seun Elere, the Project Coordinator of Large Scale Food Fortification, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), says Kebbi will be the first state in Nigeria and West Africa to produce fortified rice.

The expert stated this on Wednesday in Birnin Kebbi during a training of media personnel on ‘Promoting Rice Fortification in Nigeria (PRiFN)”

fortification according to experts, is “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.

Elele said: “Kebbi state will be the first state, not only in Nigeria but in the whole of West African countries to produce fortified rice.

“Already, we are working with Rice Mills like Wacot, Labana, Lolo Rice Mills, and other Modular Rice Mills on how to fortify their rice.

“We are doing this to strengthen large scale production, and we are creating enabling environment for this processes,” he said

Elele added that promoting rice fortification in Nigeria is an initiative between GAIN and the United Nations World Food Programme (UN WFP).

“PRiFN aims to develop, strengthen and sensitise initiatives for monitoring food trends and flow as well as modifying agricultural and food trade policies in favour of rice fortification in Nigeria.

“It also aims at establishing a nationally coordinated process for implementation of rice fortification in the country based on the national roadmap.

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“Other objectives are, to support local production of fortified rice and development of national standards and strengthen the enabling environment for the introduction of fortified rice to the market,” h said.

Earlier, WFP’s Food Fortification Expert in Nigeria, Mr Ekene Onyeagba, said the WFP in partnership with national and local governments, UN agencies and private sector and communities will work with the people.

He said they would work collectively to build human capital and resilience, innovative solutions for improve value chains and strengthen food systems.

Also speaking, Mr Philip Ortese, a GAIN Representative in Nigeria said one of the objectives of the training was to introduce the PRiFN project and its planned activities for the pilot project to media personnel in the state.

He said the training would help to secure media buy-in, sensitise media personnel to the benefits of fortified rice, as well solicit their support in promoting the benefits.

Ortese added that the training would guide participants on proper reporting of rice fortification activities generally in the state and across the North-West region.

In her remarks, Hajiya Aisha Usman, Chairperson, State Food and Nutrition Committee, expressed optimism that the training would make a great difference to the people of the state.

Usman, who is also the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning thanked the organisers and assured them of government’s commitment to supporting the promotion of rice fortification in the state.