Government restates commitment to sustain Food fortification programme,
The Honourable Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to sustain food fortification programme, a strategy adopted to address micronutrient deficiency in Nigeria.
Dr. Ehanire disclosed this while addressing the 2nd Chief Executive Officers’ Fortification Forum of leading food processing companies in Nigeria and top government agencies, yesterday in Abuja.
Speaking, the Minister informed that the meeting is aimed to build on the 1st forum held in July, 2018. He commended all the stakeholders especially, Alhaji Aliko Dangote for championing the initiative and Mr. Bill Gates for his support and sustained interest in the health and well-being of Nigerians while supporting fortification agenda in Nigeria.
Dr. Ehanire further said that Federal Government of Nigeria welcomes the idea of CEO’s forum, conceived to stimulate interest in food fortification, particularly improving quality and standards from the highest levels of government and industry. He said that this would also facilitate strategic engagement of stakeholders and systemic alignment of implementation activities with extant policies and regulations.
The Minister stated that Nigeria’s bold steps since 1992 to support large scale food fortification programme was targeted at augmenting flour, sugar and vegetable oil with vitamin A, recognised as cost effective strategy to address micronutrient deficiency. Other strategies initiated include, provision of iron and folic acid supplementation during pregnancy, as well as iodization, though, bio fortification of staple foods such as cassava, maize and potatoes have been implemented.
He emphasized that based on the successes recorded in these staples; consultations are on-going on rice fortification programs due to increase in local rice production as a deliberate policy of this administration and its consumption.
Dr. Ehanire therefore, revealed that the Federal Ministry of Health, collaborating with the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Finance, Budget and National Planning and Development Partners, including Gates Foundation would conduct a National Food Consumption and Micronutrient Survey in the first quarter of 2020 adding that Pre-Survey activities are already on-going.
The Minister urged the CEOs to pay attention to other aspects of the process including food additives like monosodium glutamate, which needs to be applied strictly according to national legislation and permissible levels, saying that the health of consumers are paramount.
Head (Media & Public Relations)