Nutritious Food Fair 2019 calls for intensified efforts at ensuring adequate nutrition for everyone
The fifth edition of the HarvestPlus Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) with the theme “Nutrition is everybody’s business” is taking place at IITA HQ, Ibadan. NFF is an annual flagship event of HarvestPlus Nigeria, which aims to drive the production, consumption, and marketing of nutritious food in Nigeria. This year, the event spans through 13‒15 November.
In his opening remarks, Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director General, Partnerships for Delivery, described IITA and HarvestPlus as “family”, because both have a mission to improve the health and nutrition of people all over Africa and the world. “We’re here to change things, and every year we should be able to see at least a change, an improvement in the health and nutrition of our people”, he said.
Arun Baral, Chief Executive Officer of HarvestPlus, was pleased to see that many stakeholders are taking nutrition and health more importantly, and, according to him, “taking biofortification to the next level—where biofortified foods are available on everyone’s table.” He added that the food fair platform is unique to Nigeria, thereby setting the country as a model to the world on how to solve nutrition problems.
Paul Ilona, Country Director, HarvestPlus Nigeria, says “HarvestPlus is multisectorial and multidisciplinary.” With over 60 partners in the public and private sectors, research institutes as well as foundations and civil societies, HarvestPlus works on large-scale food fortification, scaling up the nutrition business network, improving national government policies, a postharvest loss alliance for nutrition, and better diets for children.
This year’s NFF reiterates the importance of biofortification as well as availability and accessibility of biofortified crops, as nearly 50 million people in Nigeria are Vitamin A deficient. Erick Boy-Gallego, Head of Nutrition, HarvestPlus described biofortification as: “An evidence-based intervention to tackle micronutrient malnutrition.” HarvestPlus and partners are working to ensure that nutrition is at the table whenever agricultural productivity is being discussed.