To boost Federal Government’s food security drive, the Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, Paul Ilona, has called for more investment in local food production to tackle malnutrition, which also affects economic development.
He noted that Nigeria is moving at a slow pace in terms of economic development due to the effect of poor nutrition.
Ilona told The Guardian that as part of efforts to address the problem in the country with a population of about 180 million, Harvestplus, during the fourth
edition of the Nigeria Food Fair, will promote the production, marketing, and consumption of nutritious foods.
He noted that the Food Fair, which is the largest platform in Nigeria that showcases businesses and opportunities in the food sector, will also boost capacity building and grow the agriculture sector.
“We look at nutrition in the country because it has a lot to do with the people. The food we eat is meant to add value to our system, and we need to increase nutritional value of our local/traditional food as it also adds value to the agricultural sector, providing employment through capacity building,” he said.
Ilona said this year’s event, which opens today, November 7 to 9, will feature business seminars, exhibition of nutritious foods and processing equipment, practical training sessions, and entertainment, adding that the fair is expected to attract over 10,000 participants from within and outside the country.
“The key focus at this year’s event includes: innovations in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems, opportunities in Nigeria’s fast growing nutritious food sector, and women as champions to reach millions (Smart Mother).
Also, enabling environment for growth in the nutritious food sector, exhibition and sales of nutritious foods and equipment, grassroots quiz-line to enhance nutrition education (NutriQuiz), and creating and demonstrating nutritious food recipes (NutriCook),” he added.
He explained that promoting awareness in consuming nutritious food in the country will also ease unemployment rate, thereby creating opportunity for producers of nutritious food to increase production and employ more youths in their factories.
He said the fair would showcase 100 per cent local/traditional food, which is why the organisation is collaborating with stakeholders in the agricultural sector for the fair.