Friday, 13 January 2017

Nigerians not feeding well, says Fed Govt

THE Federal Government has warned that Nigerians are not feeding well; a situation which it claimed resulted in their spending more on health care.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Chief Audu Ogbeh spoke yesterday at the re-inauguration of an Inter-Ministerial Agriculture/Nutrition Working Group (IANWG) in Abuja.

The committee is expected to increase and sustain availability of nutritious foods among vulnerable groups to check stunted growth and ensure adequate diet.

He said most people often consume carbohydrates and less of protein, thereby affecting their well-beings, especially under-five children.

Ogbeh added that some children under the age of five lack access to milk, beef, chicken and other basic proteins.

He added that inappropriate feeding of children has resulted in stunted growth, obesity and other forms of ailments.

The minister said it was important that Nigerians must eat rightly and be conscious of what is being consumed to avoid self-poisoning.

Ogbeh said: “Food is the best medicine, but it can also be the worst poison. We have to deal with the issue of self-poisoning. We talk of water poison in our food. The use of polythene water package and some foods are lacking in basic nutrients. So, it is important to know what we eat; otherwise, we simply ingest poison.”

The minister stressed the need to urgently address starvation of over 37 per cent of children in the country.

He said the committee would design strategies to promote healthy living, address malnutrition and increase hygienic food production.

The minister noted that as soon as federal universities of agriculture are returned to the ministry, a new faculty of food safety and nutrition would be established to complement efforts of the committee.

“We want our children between the ages of one and five to be properly taken care of at crèches. The best time to develop a child’s brain is the first five years. We don’t want to have stunted children. So, we will intensify our cooperation with the ministry of health,” Ogbeh added.

Members of the committee includes representatives from federal ministries of Health, Water Resources, Budget and National Planning, Women Affairs and Environment, Dangote Foods, non-governmental organisations, development partners such as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, JICA and others.

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