‘Nigeria losing N450bn to micronutrient deficiencies annually’

‘Nigeria losing N450bn to micronutrient deficiencies annually’

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HarvestPlus Nigeria has urged all tiers of Nigerian government and other stakeholders to allign food supply, health delivery and Gross Domestic Product growth for the development of the nation.
Speaking in Lagos, the company’s Country Manager, Dr. Paul Ilona, explained that the increasing vulnerability to hidden hunger (a condition where people do not get enough essential vitamins and minerals in their daily diets), and cases of disabilities associated with micronutrient deficiencies (poor immune system, low IQ, diarrhea, night blindness, anaemia etc) will continue to grow if
not checked.
He said, “In a country where about 50 per cent of the population lives in the rural areas, micronutrient malnutrition will lead to increased pressure on national health budgets and a weak labour force that cannot drive agricultural production to meet demands of the food and industrial sectors.
“Nigeria loses about N450 billion in GDP, annually, owing mostly to micronutrient deficiencies. HarvestPlus and partners in Nigeria are developing and promoting nutrient-rich staple crops and foods as a complementary strategy to reduce micronutrient malnutrition.”
According to Ilona, the research firm is using its annual Nutritious Food Fair, which is holding in Enugu State on November 28-30, 2017, to address the micronutrient challenge across the
country.
The event, which will feature exhibitions from different parts of the country, will contribute to increasing the production, value addition, marketing and consumption of more nutritious foods, particularly those made from bio-fortified staple crops.
Over 10,000 participants are expected to attend this year’s event to exhibit nutritious food products, strengthen business skills and linkages, identify new partners, communicate brands for enhanced marketing, and participate in a host of competitions targeted at promoting the consumption of nutritious foods by Nigerians.
“One of the objectives of NFF 2017 is to create 3,000 new job opportunities in the nutritious food sector.
The Fair will engage Master Trainers to mentor participants and provide post-training technical support.
“Participants will acquire new knowledge and business guides on best farming practices by commercial farmers; best processing practices by medium and large-scale processors; gain access to micro-credit banks, and use inputs by agri-input dealers, among others,” he added.

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