Malnutrition not only contributes to close to 50% of deaths in children under five, but also results in a massive cost for the nation: according to the World Bank, Nigeria loses over US$1.5 billion in GDP annually to vitamin and mineral deficiencies alone.
In the light of the magnitude of malnutrition, the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Business Network recently hosted a one-day workshop in Lagos which launched the nutrition-focused business membership platform initiated by the Network. Gathered to witness the event were stakeholders in nutrition from government, civil society, donor organisations, and the private sector.
In his opening remarks, Alhaji Sani Dangote, chairman Dansa Foods, who is also the chairman of Nigeria AgriBusiness Group, encouraged other stakeholders to see the business case for investment and view improving nutrition as a great business opportunity.
Key actors that have joined the coalition include Dansa Foods, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nutricima, BASF and several other organisations, all of which formed the ‘early risers’ committed to investing more resources towards improving nutrition
Participants at the workshop had an opportunity to share the latest results in consumer research from a presentation facilitated by IPSOS Healthcare, and the need for such research in new product formulation and marketing.
The representative of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. G.O. Opara, President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and chairman CS-SUNN Prof Ngozi Nnam; SUN Focal point and Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu and MD/CEO Dangote Foundation, Ms. Zouera Youssoufou were some of the panellists and contributors at the event.
The SUN Business Network Coordinator, Dr Angela Attah stressed the need for collaboration, commitment and action in the actualisation of improved nutrition in Nigeria and globally, through business investment in order to build a virile workforce for the economy and a strong consumer base for the future.