Bio-fortification to Reduce Death Rate
In order to reduce death rate and boost nutrition in the country, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole on Saturday said the ministry has embarked on vitamin A food bio-fortification.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Nutrition, Dr. Chris Isukpunwu, disclosed this at the launching of 2016 planting season for bio-fortified vitamin A cassava and maize.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the programme was organised by Harvestplus Nigeria, at the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure.
HarvestPlus is an international organisation leading a global effort to improve nutrition by developing and disseminating staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
The theme of the programme is ‘Scaling Up Bio fortification Investment in Nigeria.’
Adewole noted that vitamin A was one of the five major nutrients of the body, adding that many children under the age of five die due to measles, which is caused by lack of vitamin A.
“It’s a huge cause of death of children under five and the second cause of blindness for adults. The ministry partnered Harvestplus because bio-fortified vitamin A yellow cassava especially is a good cure of lack of the vitamin as many people consume cassava in the country.
“Investment in agriculture is a long lasting investment,” he said.
The minister urged mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for six months and ensure that they continue to breastfeed them until two years, saying that breast milk is a good source of vitamin A.
In his remarks, the Special Assistant to the Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Mr Edet Ekon, said agriculture research and training was the key to unlocking the gap of productivity in the agriculture sector.
Ekon noted that vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of diseases and causes reproductive problems. He emphasised that agriculture remained the key role for the country’s development and commended Harvestplus Nigeria for the good works.
Also speaking, the Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladelusi commended the organisation for organising the event and the institution for the training given to students in agriculture.