Vice-President, Kashim Shettima, has called on the National Council on Nutrition (NCN) to prioritise innovation and research in its quest to significantly transform the nation’s nutritional landscape.
Shettima made the call in his keynote address at the inauguration of the new NCN at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.
” I wish to appeal to all members to prioritise innovation and research in the field of nutrition.
” We must embrace technology, leverage digital solutions and invest in research and development to discover sustainable and scalable solutions for our nutrition challenges.
” This aligns with our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.
” By harnessing the power of innovation and making prudent investments, we can fundamentally transform the nutritional landscape in Nigeria, creating lasting and meaningful change,” he said.
The vice president, also the Chairman of the council said that there were challenges hindering the actualisation of set targets and goals.
According to him, Nigeria must collaborate to enhance nutrition governance, ensure the widespread availability of nutritious food, champion optimal infant and young child nutrition as well as bolster nutrition education and awareness campaigns.
” While funding is undeniably crucial, we must also prioritise streamlining processes, implement practical strategies and foster genuine collaboration to overcome the hurdles before us.”
“A healthy nation isn’t just a happier one; it’s also safer. This underscores the necessity of our gathering here today.
” This occasion is not only to emphasise that the quality of what we consume is just as important as the quantity but also to renew our commitment to understanding the connection between food and human security,” he said.
On NCN composition, Shettima said it was a testament to the priority accorded to nutrition of every Nigerian in line with President Bola Tinubu’s agenda for food and nutrition security.
He further said that the council was ready to foster political determination and the utilisation of resources to eradicate malnutrition.
” This is our realistic pathway toward attaining the objectives outlined in the National Policy on Food and Nutrition.
” I am therefore, confident that the diverse assembly of stakeholders within this council will facilitate comprehensive multi-stakeholder engagement, encompassing various sectors such as health, agriculture and social protection as well as spanning across different levels of government,” he said.
The vice president acknowledged the support of stakeholders in the private sector and the UN system.
He noted that the country was fortunate to have partners who offered technical and financial expertise to support government’s efforts in addressing the challenge.
Earlier, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Atiku Bagudu, said the inauguration of NCN would ensure further consolidation on the successes already recorded in the sector.
He said that especially, the country’s alignment with the global direction to develop Food Systems Transformation Pathways.
Bagudu, however, disclosed that implementation of the priority actions in the Food Systems Transformation Pathways had begun in all the 36 states, including the FCT.
The Ministers of Agriculture, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris and the Minister of Women Affairs attended the inauguration.
Others are the Minister of State for Health, Mrs Uju Kennedy; Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr Beta Edu; Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev;
Also present at the meeting are the World Bank Country Director, Mr Shubam Chauhdri; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Muhammad Sanusi II, and UNICEF Country Rep, Cristiane Munduate.