Stakeholders in the food manufacturing sector have pledged commitments to collaborate and contribute to the goals of industrial fortification and workforce nutrition.
The food industry titans made the pledge at the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) Roundtable on “the Business Advantage of Industrial Food Fortification and Workforce Nutrition’, organised by the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), on Tuesday in Lagos.
BRANDPOWER reports that the third party advocacy on Large-Scale Food Fortification (LSFF), held in collaboration with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and E-Health.
The meeting is a platform where industry leaders come together to outline practical action to address critical issues impacting the nation’s nutrition and health and by implication the economy and productivity.
They noted that nutrition and economic development had a two-way relationship.
According to them, a higher level of economic development contributes to improved nutrition, and more importantly, improved nutrition alleviates health concerns and acts as a catalyst for economic growth.
Mr Omoboyede Olusanya, Chief Executive Officer, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, said it was imperative to recognise the interplay between nutrition, economics, and societal well-being.
He said, “Recent data shows that 44 per cent of children under five have chronic, longstanding malnutrition with 11 per cent diagnosed with acute malnutrition.
“However, the prevalence of vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) deficiencies surpasses these visible manifestations of malnutrition, underscoring a broader and a less visible concern.
“Let us take a collective step forward, recognising the interplay between nutrition, economics, and societal well-being. Together, we have the power to chart a course towards a healthier, more prosperous future for Nigeria and beyond.’’
Olusanya was represented by Mr Sadiq Usman, Director-Group Strategy and Stakeholder Relations.
Dr Michael Ojo, Country Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, who noted that the economic rationale for embracing food fortification and workforce nutrition was compelling, advised that an active step be taken to achieve the desired outcome.
He said, “this “Profitable Protections” Roundtable is therefore more than just a meeting. It is a call for action, an opportunity to forge a path towards a healthier, more prosperous Nigeria.
“We aim, through this platform, to secure your commitment, share knowledge and experiences, and collaboratively explore innovative solutions for industrial fortification and workforce nutrition.
“As leaders in the food manufacturing sector, you wield a unique power to influence the health and well-being of millions.
“The economic rationale for embracing food fortification and workforce nutrition is compelling. For those of you who employ labour, you already know that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce.
“Investing in effective industrial fortification and in supporting workforce nutrition initiatives is not just an investment in health but a strategic investment in our nation’s economic future.’’
Malam Auwal Musa, Executive Director of CISLAC, said that addressing the issue of essential nutrient access requires a multi-stakeholder approach, involving individuals, communities, and organisations across different sectors.
“The collaboration and cooperation of the private sector, particularly large-scale food producers, is absolutely vital to achieving our goals in large-scale food fortification.
“Your expertise, resources, and leadership are critical in ensuring the consistent and widespread adoption of food fortification practices.
“This roundtable discussion marks a significant step forward in our collective journey towards a healthier, more vibrant Nigeria. Through open dialogue, collaboration, and a shared commitment to action, we can achieve the desired critical outcomes.
“By working together, we can ensure that every Nigerian has access to the essential nutrients they need to thrive. We can build a stronger, healthier, and more prosperous nation for generations to come,’’ he said.
Musa was represented by Mr Muhammed Murtala, Senior Programme Officer, CISLAC.
Earlier, Mrs Gloria Ekpo, Facilitator, Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission, NESG, gave the highlights of the NESGs role in the project.
She said that the group’s role was to create private sector awareness and generate strategic visibility on the problems, steps and successes recorded in fortification compliance for the large-scale food fortification strategy in Nigeria, among others.
She, therefore, named three recommendations of the third party advocacy project as- to incorporate use of nutrient dense food products to address malnutrition issues within the workforce, engage professional nutritionists to conduct nutrition education and training sessions and nutrition awareness.
BRANDPOWER reports that participants at the meeting are; representatives from the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, immediate past Senate Committee Chairman on Health, Sen. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, Mr Ladipo Ayodeji (Chef Dee), Nutrition specialist from GAIN, Tropical General Investments.
An international investment and holding company with diversified interests across Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and other emerging markets, among others.