Mrs. Uduak Igbeka, the National Coordinator, Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), on Friday said that many Nigerians lacked basic knowledge of dietary control which accounts for the nation’s high level of malnutrition and under-nutrition.
Igbeka made the assertion in an interview with newsmen in Lagos at “NutriPitch”, the Nourish Nigeria Challenge in Lagos.
The Nourish Nigeria Challenge is a programme by SBN in partnership with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and supported by FATE Foundation.
The programme received 140 applications for participation in the challenge from 26 states across Nigeria that were admitted into NutriPitch.
The enterprenuers at the event were made to go through an accelerator programme which was addressed by Nutrition and Food Safety, value chain analysis, financial management and investor readiness.
The top five competitors will however represent Nigeria in October 2018 at the regional conference in Nairobi Kenya.
On the need for Nigerians to be aware of proper dietary habits, Igbeka said that what Nigerians needed most was information and knowledge of what to eat at a particular time.
“Proper diets are not about the pocket or the amount of money at individuals disposal. Most of the good foods are not expensive, but many don’t have the knowledge of it.
“Fat salaries are not determinants of proper diets; Nigerians should appreciate home grown foods to solve their needs. It is about being able to understand how to combine our foods.
“There are several ways to combine foods to make a nourishing diet in an affordable way from home grown foods and fruits or vegetables. We should consume more of our home grown foods.
“We need to begin to think about how we can add value to our home grown foods so that they will be available and accessible all the year round,” she said.
Igbeka said that poor nutrition affected the productivity of workers, adding that poor output often experienced among workforce were due to poor nutrition.
“Malnutrition affects productivity because it means that we cannot have a healthy workforce that can optimally meet the demands of the economy.
“Malnutrition is partly responsible for the low performance of our Gross Domestic Products (GDP) because nutrition affects everything, growth and importantly intelligent Quotient (IQ).
“What this means is that for us to have a profitable business we must be right thinking business it is the driver of the economy. For this reason, malnutrition may be an issue to the workforce.
“Also, we need right nutrition to ward off some non-communicable and communicable diseases. Eating right saves us from diabetes and the knowledge of avoiding fatty foods and starch,” she said.