As part of efforts aimed at tackling the issue of nutritional gaps in Nigeria’s food system, the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) says it is collaborating with the Federal Government and Wageningen University of the Netherlands.
Head of IITA’s Abuja Office, Dr. Gbassey Tarawali, disclosed this at a Workshop themed, “Food Systems for Healthier Diets in Nigeria: Diagnosis and Foresight”
Dr. Gbassey stated that the goal of the partnership was to produce a new breed of healthier and more nutritional crops.
“IITA is the main implementer; IITA will be working with Wegeningen; it has the scientist and the nutritionists. We are going to do a lot of things in terms of analysis and introducing new varieties of food crops that are more nutritious than what people used to know.” He said
He added that citizens “will now have bio-fortified crops – crops that are more nutritious than they used to be. So IITA is going to play a major role in terms of providing this bio-fortified varieties, providing the research, providing the critical mass and taking the lead in this project in Nigeria.’’
Corroborating this, Senior Researcher, Food and Nutrition Security of the Wageningen University and Research, Mr. Thom Achterbosch, also stressed the programme was aimed at comprehending the diet quality in Nigeria.
“A diet can be good if you nourish the body with the nutrients you need. What we will do in this programme is to understand how consumption connects to the nutrients. We want to identify opportunities for improving the diet. What we try to do is to bring argument to the table for wider business cases around supplying healthier food to the population,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the Senior Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Adeyinka Onabolu, who said that the move was a laudable one noted that the federal government, had launched an agriculture food security and nutrition programme.