Head of Nutrition at the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Dr. Chris Isokpunwu has urged Nestle Nigeria Plc. to manufacture affordable products that meet the nutritional needs of the Nigerian populace.
Also, Isokpunwu has encouraged the private sector to key into the production of nutritious foods that could tackle the problems of malnutrition in Nigerian.
He made the call during the launch of Nestle’s improved Golden Morn fortified with Grainsmart, which held at the company’s factory in Agbara on Tuesday.
The call came against the background that 58 per cent of women of reproductive age in the country have iron deficiency anaemia while 68 per cent of children under-five has iron deficiency, which makes them vulnerable to diseases, reduces their capacity to learning and exposes them greatly to infections.
Against this background, Isokpunwu while commending Nestle for its contributions towards improving Nigeria’s health indices, said the private sector must key into tackling malnutrition.
The company did a public presentation of its new, improved Golden Morn, a maize and soya cereal, that is now fortified with Grainsmart to public sector dignitaries and the media. Grainsmart is a unique blemd of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, Vitamin C and Iron.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nestle Nigeria Plc. Disclosed that the company manufacture and markets a range of iconic products including Golden Morn, which is produced in Nigeria with 100 per cent locally, sourced agricultural raw and packaging materials. He said, “Nestle has been nourishing Nigeria for over 58 years, delighting individuals and families with high quality nutritious food products. We keep working to make our portfolio even healthier and tastier.
“One of the ways we do this is by fortifying our products with micronutrients to help address under-nutrition. For instance, with the addition of Grainsmart, a serving of the new Golden Morn provides 25 per cent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Iron among other key micronutrients.”
The World Bank data on the prevalence of anaemia in Nigeria shows that as at 2016, 68 per cent of children under the age of five years were anaemic, while 50 per cent of women between the ages of 15 to 49 years in Nigeria also suffer anaemia. At least 50 per cent of these cases can be traced to iron deficiency.
Similarly, speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, represented by Mrs Karima Babangida who is the Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, commended Nestle Nigeria PLc for being a key stakeholder and partner of the Ministry in producing and supplying quality and nutritious product better time s towards the reduction of malnutrition in Nigeria.
The relaunch of Golden Morn fortified with vitamins and minerals could not have come at a better time than now. This is a typical private sector investment that would contribute to greatly reducing malnutrition and boosting the economy of our nation. The Federal Government is encouraging more private sector investments in the production and marketing of bio-fortified foods and other micro-nutrient-rich commodities,” the minister said.