IITA scientist highlights nutrition and health at conference
Research activities conducted under the Agriculture for nutrition and health (A4NH) research program in Nigeria were highlighted at the 47th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN), held 19–23 September, at the International Conference Center (ICC), University of Ibadan (UI). The theme of the conference was Controversies in Nutrition: Separating Facts from Fads and Fallacies.
IITA Food and Nutrition Scientist and A4NH Country Team Leader, Busie Maziya-Dixon, chaired the session on A4NH, where she enlightened an audience of over 300 including professors, lecturers, students, private sector, government, and other stakeholders working on nutrition in Nigeria, on the subject. The session comprised of the following presentations: overview of A4NH; food systems for healthier diets: implications for food and nutrition research for development agenda in Nigeria; update on development of nutritious staple crops in Nigeria; scaling up aflatoxin control in Nigeria: experiences with public-private partnerships; promoting utilization of biofortified cassava through breeding and dissemination activities in Nigeria; and a brief overview of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation food systems work, which was presented by the Senior Nutrition Program Officer, Dr Victor Ajieroh, Gates Foundation Country Office.
Hunger, malnutrition, and poor health are widespread and persistent development challenges. Agriculture has made remarkable advances in the past decades with regard to improving productivity and income. In recent times, more efforts have been directed in using agriculture to improve nutrition and health. “A nutritionist cannot solve malnutrition alone; if you are not partnering with other disciplines, then you still have a long way to go. Nutrition is an outcome of the work we do,” Maziya-Dixon stated during the discussion.
Adebayo Akinola concluded that “there should be reorientation, formation, and execution of government policies towards the achievement of sustainable food systems to achieve better nutrition for all”.
The plenary was co-sponsored with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A4NH is a CGIAR Research Program run by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The program helps realize the potential of agricultural development to deliver gender-equitable nutrition and health benefits to the poor.