NIGERIA – The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is championing increased collaboration across the food value chain in Nigeria while investing in biofortified crops, particularly Vitamin A cassava and orange-fleshed potatoes in bid to combat malnutrition.

Micheal Ojo, Country Director of GAIN Nigeria, emphasized the significance of promoting biofortified crops, stating, “Encouraging increased production of bio-fortified crops means that those who are growing those crops have access to them but also becomes more available to go into production for markets.”

Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director at GAIN, stressed the need for partnerships within the food sector to effectively address malnutrition.

Speaking at the SUN Business Network Nigeria annual members convening, themed ‘Building a National Collaborative Mechanism for Nutrition in Nigeria: A Catalyst for Change,’ held in Lagos, Haddad highlighted the potential of such collaborations to accelerate progress in addressing malnutrition.

He commended the Nigerian government’s efforts in raising awareness about the importance of food security and nutrition.

However, Haddad urged a stronger focus on nutritious foods like fish, eggs, dairy, and fruits and vegetables. He suggested developing a comprehensive plan with simple, actionable elements that all stakeholders – government, development partners, and the private sector – can support.

Tomisin Odunmbaku, National Coordinator of the SUN Business Network, echoed the importance of concerted efforts and strategic partnerships.

The event’s theme emphasized the urgent need for collaborative action to make healthier diets more affordable and accessible, especially given the concerning deterioration in malnutrition indicators over the past decade.

Despite extensive investments and interventions in addressing malnutrition, the country has faced challenges in its food system.

According to Ojo, shocks such as climate change and insecurity have significantly impacted productivity and the use of cultivable lands.

“We can see the impact of climate change. In several production areas in the country, the soil quality is less, and weather incidents are more uncertain and unpredictable, affecting productivity,” explained Ojo.

“We have a major problem of insecurity, which has meant a lot of cultivable lands have not been put to use because of insecurity.”

GAIN aims to celebrate and support entrepreneurs producing nutritious food by ensuring affordability through small package sizes and shorter value chains.

The organization’s investment in biofortified crops aligns with its commitment to creating sustainable solutions for improved nutrition in Nigeria.

As stakeholders unite in collaborative efforts, the hope is to address malnutrition effectively and enhance the overall food system resilience in the face of challenges.

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