Ministries partner investors to facilitate high energy nutritious foods in Africa

Whatapp News



ABUJA –  The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will partner with the Ministry of Health, local and foreign investors to facilitate high energy nutritious foods in Africa.

This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Tony Ohaeri, the Director of Information in the ministry, on Thursday in Abuja.

The statement noted that the partnership was formed at a group meeting at the ongoing World Economic Forum for Africa (WEF-Africa) in Nigeria.

The partners include Dansa Holdings, Syngenta, UNICEF, Harvest Plus, World Food Programme (WFP) and the Global Alliance for Improving Nutrition (GAIN).

Others are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and the Department for International Development (DFID).

The statement quoted the Minister, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, as saying that combating the scourge of malnutrition in Africa was subset of the agricultural transformation agenda of the Federal Government’s economic and social development programme.

According to him, nearly 850 million of the 7.1 billion people in the world are hungry and that malnutrition is the cause of 45 per cent of deaths in children under 5 years old.

Adesina estimated that 12 Africans die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition, adding that almost 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not eat well enough to ensure their health and well-being.

He said that the continent had the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world afflicting almost one in four people, with 80 per cent of the world’s stunted children living in just 14 countries of which eight were in Africa.

The minister attributed the situation to poor performance of agriculture which was the main source of livelihoods for majority of the poor.

To reverse this trend, the minister said the Federal Government decided to adopt a workable platform where all those involved would see agriculture as a business.

He said the meeting being held alongside WEF-Africa, was to drive further private sector engagements in agriculture to increase investments in the production of key crops that would significantly alleviate the rampant malnutrition in Africa.

Adesina said local production of high energy nutritious food was feasible and profitable as all the crops required to produce high-energy, like sorghum, maize and soybeans were all grown in abundance in Africa.

In his remarks, the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, said that the ministry had provided support by including bio-fortified cassava, maize, sweet potato and pearl millet in the new Micronutrient Deficiency Control Guidelines.

Chukwu said the guidelines were approved by the National Council on Health in August 2013.

The minister said weaning children with foods containing nutrients vital to healthy growth was imperative as a hungry child would not learn while a malnourished child would become brain-impaired.

Chukwu pledged support for the programme on behalf of the other partners. (NAN)

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