Kaduna State Government on Wednesday said it would support women to go into agriculture in order to produce nutritious foods to tackle severe acute malnutrition.
Hajiya Ummi El-Rufa’i, Chairperson, Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, made the disclosure at a news briefing in Kaduna on the implementation of the action plan in the state.
She said women especially at the grassroots where cases of malnutrition were high would be empowered to become agricultural entrepreneurs in order to curtail high percentage of malnutrition in the state.
“We are looking at ensuring that we give our women farmlands to become agricultural entrepreneurs so that they can farm researched nutritious produce for their consumption and also sell so as to become economically empowered.’’
According to her, the state has spent millions of naira on the programme and expects the new empowerment initiative to allow the women produce Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) for malnourished children.
She said that UNICEF, which has been supporting the state, plans to stop the purchase of the RUTF because of high cost.
“With the help of UNICEF, we purchased the RUTF from foreign countries, but we have had discussions on how we can locally produce the RUTF.
“Because we want to wean ourselves from its purchase, our women should be able to farm locally, food produce to come up with nutritious meals,’’ she stressed.
She noted that once the people understand the causes and dangers attributed to nutrition and the possible ways of solving it, they would be need minimal support from the government.
“On the issue of awareness creation, we are trying to produce radio jingles and TV programmes where we can have demonstrations on how to cook simple nutritious meals that can be cooked for children to eradicate malnutrition,’’ she emphasised.
Ummi the immediate programme pursued under the action plan was the treatment of acutely malnourished children under the age of five in three local government areas.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that implementation of the state action plan on malnutrition began in January.
It brought together line ministries, agencies and partners involved in nutrition, women and child health to provide holistic and sustainable action to tackle malnutrition in the state.