Aliko Dangote and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations have expressed commitments to reduce malnutrition in Nigeria through improved quality fortification of foods.
They made the pledge during the Food Processing and Nutrition Leadership Forum in Lagos where chief executives of leading food processing companies committed to adequate fortification in major food staples by 2020.
Mr. Larry Umunna, Country Director, TechnoServe Nigeria, said in a statement that the Forum marks the start of a renewed, business-led effort to combat poor nutrition in Nigeria.
According to Ummuna, the partnership will address the lack of access to basic nutrients and vitamins that holds back women and children’s health and development.
The initiative was part of the Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) project, funded by Gates Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe.
Food fortification is the process of adding micronutrients, especially trace elements and vitamins, so as to improve the food’s nutritional quality and provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, said the initiative to tackle malnutrition was a welcome development.
“As corporate leaders, we can change this trend and prepare for our future – using tools already at our fingertips.
“One of the most powerful solutions for malnutrition is within the food processing industry; the fortification of staple foods such as wheat and maize flour, cooking oil, salt, and sugar with essential vitamins and minerals,” he said.