A consortium of nutritionists has emphasized the effectiveness of food fortification as a crucial solution to the escalating challenges of severe micronutrient deficiency and malnutrition. During a media roundtable themed “Fortifying Nigeria’s Future: Promoting Compliance and Workforce Nutrition,” renowned groups such as the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), National Economic Summit Group, and E-Health converged to address the pressing issue.
The communique issued following the roundtable highlighted the absence of a regulatory framework to enforce compliance with food fortification, hindering the efforts of regulatory agencies. It underscored the urgent need for fortification to alleviate micronutrient deficiency and enhance nutritional intake.
The statement emphasized, “Micronutrient deficiency, evident in iron deficiency, goiter prevalence, and zinc deficiency, poses significant physical and cognitive challenges at all levels. Given that poverty, hunger, and malnutrition pose unattended threats to the health and socio-economic stability of societies, the global community has embraced Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2, aiming to eradicate poverty and eliminate hunger by 2030.”
The high production costs associated with fortification processes currently discourage manufacturers from investing in fortified food production, further exacerbating the situation. Additionally, the lack of self-regulation in fortified foods hampers regulatory efforts.
The event featured esteemed speakers who shed light on various aspects of malnutrition and fortification. Dr. Yahaya Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Chair of the Senate Committee on Health, presented “The State of Malnutrition and Workforce Nutrition in Nigeria,” while Prof. Wasiu Afolabi, President of the Nutrition Association of Nigeria, discussed “The Role of Food Fortification in Addressing Micronutrient Deficiencies.” Prof. Olugbenga Ben Ogunmoyela, President of the Consumer Advocacy for Food Safety and Nutrition Initiative, presented “The Challenges and Successes of Fortification Compliance and Opportunities for Promoting Workforce Nutrition in Nigeria.”
With these expert insights, stakeholders aim to mobilize efforts and advocate for comprehensive measures to combat malnutrition, fortify food supplies, and improve the overall nutritional well-being of Nigerians.