The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN-Nigeria), a Non-Governmental Organisation, has initiated a partnership with business owners to meet nutritional needs of Nigerians.
Its Country Director, Mr Micheal Ojo, said this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Friday.
Ojo said that the organisation had started working with business owners under a ‘Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network’.
He said that the aim was to mobilise them to contribute towards the reduction of malnutrition in the country.
According to him, the report of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted in 2017 placed the stunting rate of Nigerian children at 43.6 per cent.
“The first five years of a child’s life is very important and the first two years are the most critical.
“So the basic nutrients which are needed to make them grow both physically and psychologically must be prioritised.
“The issue of malnutrition goes beyond the physical manifestation, but the cognitive development of children to learn and meet up with their peers across the world.
“That is why we will continue to work with business owners to provide the required nutrients needed for healthy living,” he said.
According to him, consumers of edible products ought to be informed of the nutrients that such products contain.
“As consumers struggle to understand basic balanced diets, producers and manufacturers should be able to provide nutrition information in simple and clear terms.
“It should not just end at listing out the ingredients in quantities that people do not understand.
“They should be able to provide sufficient nutritional information on their product packs for consumers to make healthy food choices.
“For example, Vitamin A, Iron, Zinc, Iodine, Folic acid, among others, are very important for young women of reproductive age and children.
“We also advise that people take a lot of fruits and vegetables in order to get maximum nutrients for their everyday life”, he said.
He said that a competition among business owners was on-going in Lagos to encourage businesses in improving diets in their products.
“The local elevator pitch competition is tagged “NutriPitch-The Nourish Nigeria Challenge.”
“And 10 businesses will be selected for a boot camp to prepare them for the final pitch in Kenya later in the year where a winner will be selected,” he said.