Due to poor management of urbanization and its effects on the dietary diversity of Nigerians, Country manager Harvest-Plus Nigeria, Mr. Paul Ilona, says Nigeria needs bio-fortification.
Ilona said this during an interview with Newsmen in Lagos.
According to him, fruit trees have been overtaken by ornamental trees, reducing the country’s nutritional density, which requires the need for bio-fortification.
He explained that Bio-fortification is meant to multiply the density of vitamins and minerals in the crop via plant-breeding or agronomy practices, so that when consumed, crops would generate the required vitamins and minerals for the body.
In his words, “Urbanisation is seriously affecting the dietary diversity of Nigerians, and there is need for more nutritious foods that will enhance our capacity.”
“Ornamental trees are good, but will not add value to our nutritional requirements, which is why I say urbanisation is good, but we have not managed it well.” He added.
The country manager noted that the current drive to promote bio-fortified foods was to add value to the lives of Nigerians and fight against hidden hunger, which is caused by malnutrition and it is greatly affecting children and pregnant women.
He stated that the country is over-concentrating on producing carbohydrate foods.
“According to World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2015, 100 children under age five die; and 6 women of childbearing age die every hour in Nigeria, and this should be a concern to us.”
“About 60 per cent of the reasons for their deaths have been attributed to malnutrition.”
“Nigeria has come of age that we should not be hungry again. It is germane to ensure that Nigerians have access to nutritious food.” He stressed