The Federal Government alongside players in the food processing industry across the country has restated commitment to ensuring adequate food fortification for better health of her citizens.
Addressing participants at the 4th Annual Nigeria Food Processing and Nutrition Leadership Forum, a hybrid session in Lagos, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, assured stakeholders that the federal government would continue to support efforts to fortify foods with micronutrients.
Food fortification is described as a process of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.
This is, the minister said, would prevent micronutrient deficiencies and improve staple foods like edible oil, wheat flour, and sugar.
“Food fortification is an important pillar of health strategy. It assists in disease prevention and health promotion,” adding that it’s an important pillar of health strategy.
Ehanire pledged: “We shall do all we can in the health sector to support this instead of relying on importation.”
In his reaction, Chairman of Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote, creating a common set of compliance standards, they are creating a sustainable path to delivering Nigerians food that will help them live healthier, and more productive lives.”
He further emphasised that this would propel better nutrition for consumers, which will in turn mean better health and economic development for the nation.
According to the Director of Nutrition, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Dr. Andreas Bluethner, large-scale food fortification is one of the most effective tools to ensure people get the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive. “This is part of our five-thematic areas at the BMGF.”
The forum is part of Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) project funded by BMGF, Aliko Dangote Foundation, and TechnoServe.
The SAPFF Programme aims at addressing the challenges in food fortification, using a market-based approach to assist over 90 food processors, increase their capacity to produce, and sell fortified foods to local markets.