Prof. Wasiu Afolabi of the Community Nutrition, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta has called for speedy implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition by the federal, state and local governments.
Afolabi said that its implementation, which required adequate funding by all tiers of government, would ensure food security and reduce the scourge of malnutrition in the country.
Afolabi also the Vice President, South, Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) made the call in an interview on Thursday in Abuja on the sidelines of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the society.
The theme of the AGM is: “Promotion of nutrition for sustainable development: Current trends and innovation”.
The National Policy on Food and Nutrition was inaugurated in 2015.
The don, who identified the policy document as “National Multi-sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition said that its implementation cuts across several sectors of the economy which included the ministries of agriculture, health, education, women affairs, trade, and investment.
Afolabi identified some of the strategies embedded in the document to include actions geared toward the production, processing, preservation of “our indigenous crops’’ that would improve the nutrition of the populace.
“It also includes aspects of appropriate marketing and distribution of food to where they are actually needed, health activities such as promoting nutrition in the first 1,000 days windows of opportunity for infants from conception till two years.
“Any nutrition suffered by any infants during this window of opportunity can never be reversed.
“The strategies also involved several other activities along with education. Reviewing the curriculum to include nutrition at the primary, secondary and the qualifications of graduates we are churning out in nutrition.
“The various departments at the federal, state and local government levels across sectors among other stakeholders must rise up to their responsibilities and prioritise nutrition.
“They must ensure we produce and consume what will adequately nourish our bodies not what will jeopardise our health and such measures will boost our nutrition status,’’ Afolabi said.
Afolabi, who frowned at the burden of malnutrition in the country decried that the country had one of the worst indices of malnutrition across the globe and particularly in Africa.
He, however, blamed it on lack of commitment by relevant authorities across the board and other stakeholders on the issue.
He said that to effectively boost the nutritional status of both the infants, adolescent, adult among all sectors concerned must aggravate their activities.
“We must take important note of our production. We need to match our production with our actual requirements and need.
“So, we must put emphasis on the production of food that will promote the health of infants, adolescent, young children, and adults and there are health-related activities that must be taken care of.
“Even if you consume the food and you are not healthy, you are not going to get the benefits of what you have consumed. So it is a whole lot of activities across the key sector.”
NAN report that the NSN was established to promote and foster the study of nutrition in its widest sense.
It was also aimed at promoting a common forum for physiologists, agriculturists, food and technologists, biochemists, clinicians, economists, public health workers, dieticians among professional groups relating to nutrition to exchange information and ideas.