By Hassan Zaggi
Governments at all levels have been advised to increase investments in nutrition and fully implement the National Multi-sectoral Plan of Action for food and Nutrition.
The Executive Secretary of Civil Society – Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Beatrice Eluaka, made the call at a media briefing to commemorate the 2019 World Food Day, in Abuja.
The increase in investments in nutrition, according to her, will “improve nutrition interventions, nutrition education, address issues around breastfeeding friendly policies, help farmers diversify food production, guide public food procurement and regulations on food marketing, labeling and advertising policies among others.”
CS- SUNN further called on the federal government to accelerate progress on eliminating hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030 and even beyond- to pave the way for achieving all the SDGs.
She insisted that the government must develop the needed political will backed by action, domestic financing and innovative interventions for it to eradicate the myriads of consequences of malnutrition including stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, overweight/obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases.
Mrs Eluaka also called on farmers to take the needed steps to diversity food production, reduce post-harvest loses and adopt sustainable agricultural methods to preserve natural resources, while also increasing productivity and income.
“Private Food production-companies need to introduce more nutritious foods and adhere to nutrition-related regulations and standards regarding the production and sale of foods, nutrition labels (informing consumers about high levels of total fat, saturated fat, sugar, or salt), and food marketing and advertising, especially those targeted at children.
“CS-SUNN stresses the need for every Nigerian to limit the consumption of foods that are high in salt, sugar and trans and saturated fats.
“Every Nigerian should make adequate nutrition and zero hunger a part of their daily lives by getting familiar with the country’s dietary guidelines, eating more diversified diets, understanding nutrition labels and being more physically active,” she said.
Speaking, Dr. Olaleke Razaq, Deputy Director, Nutrition, Crop protection and food safety at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, stressed the need for Nigerians to be cautious of what they eat.
He advised Nigerians to eat more of indigenous foods that are in abundance at cheap prices in all parts of the country.
While disclosing that the federal government was committed to further investments in nutrition interventions with more resources being committed in research and information technology, Dr. Razaq, admonished Nigerians to stop wasting foods in their homes and adopt simple and affordable storage system as household levels.