The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) have called on the Federal Government to encourage and commit more funds to the cultivation of more bio-fortified crops to address malnutrition in the country.
Speaking at a quarterly media parley organised by the Food and Agriculture Writers’ Organisation of Nigeria (FAWON) in Lagos, the Executive Director, GAIN, Dr. Lawrence Haddad, said Nigeria’s budget on nutrition from the overall government expenditure is the lowest at about 0.2 per cent.
However, he exhorted all tiers of government to pay more attention to nutrition as the development of any nation is solely dependent on its active workforce, comprising young people who need adequate nourishment from food to be productive.
According to him, Nigeria runs into a nutrition crisis every year with the situation resulting in a 10 per cent loss in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). He said government at all levels need to be more proactive to tackle the menace by investing more money in nutrition.
Speaking on his report on nutrition, Haddad said, “since 2015 when we started this report, we discovered that 40 per cent of all countries in the world have massive problems of undernutrition. This figure has now gone up to 60 per cent.
“Thirty-seven per cent of under five children are stunted in Nigeria. Without proper nutrition, the future of a child is being thwarted. However, there is need for more funds to be ploughed into programmes and schemes on nutrition because malnutrition is an expensive challenge to overcome.”
Also speaking at the event, the Regional Director, CIAT, Dr. Debisi Araba, said there is need for a better and proper coordination of nutrition in the policy space to improve nutrition challenges in the country. He therefore advised the Federal Government to partner with the private sector in the production of more bio-fortified food to meet diet diversification demands.