Development partners yesterday called for sensitisation on food fortification and local patronage of premixes in Nigeria.
The development partners stated this during the Food Fortification & Digitalization Roundtable organised by TechnoServe Nigeria under its Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) program.
The organisations, who are spearheading global nutrition security, said despite the severity of hidden hunger in the country, many Nigerians still do not understand the need for fortification in food products.
They added that Nigeria’s data on multiple levels of nutrition derivation shows that fortification is no longer a choice but a must in the country.
“The general public still does not know what fortification is all about. There is a need for sensitization and the government has demonstrated to us that it can be done,” said Philomena Orji, country director, Hellen Keller International.
“A few years ago, NAFDAC did the “shine your eye” campaign with medication. If we can put the same effort into fortification, then we can increase the demand for fortified products and achieve our fortification goals,” she noted.
She called for collaboration between government agencies to ensure effective monitoring just as she urged industry-wide collaborations to address fortification challenges.
Speaking also, Joyce Akpata, head – policy and advocacy, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) stressed the need to encourage local production of premixes, saying it plays a significant role in the country’s quest to tackle malnutrition and hidden hunger.
“Food processors need to patronize local premix manufacturers and the government needs to provide incentives and create an enabling environment for the industry to thrive locally,” Akpata added.
“As much as we are trying to eradicate hidden hunger, we should build businesses in the process as well,” she adds.