[FILE] HarvestPlus Nigeria displaying vitamin A cassava flour products in Ibadan, Oyo State, recently. PHOTO: Femi Ibirogba

HarvestPlus Nigeria has called on the government, private organisations and individuals to intensify efforts to reduce or eliminate hunger, malnutrition and associated deaths.

Over 10 million children are estimated to be malnourished despite the huge potential to avoid such.Country director of HarvestPlus Nigeria, Dr. Paul Ilona, made the call yesterday while unveiling activities for this year’s Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) office in Ikeja.

While noting that food includes macronutrients such as carbohydrates, protein and fats, as well as micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, Ilona said: “Hidden hunger or malnutrition occurs when a child is fed mainly with macronutrients.”

Micronutrients deficiency has been responsible for high infant mortality rate, low intelligence quotient, disease burdens and low productivity. Solutions to tackle the deficiencies include supplementation, commercial food fortification, dietary diversity and bio-fortification.

HarvestPlus has been a main promoter of Vitamin A cassava, maize and potato in the effort to reduce malnutrition in Africa.Meanwhile, popular Nollywood actor, Segun Arinze, urged all Nigerians to see the challenge as a national emergency, adding that the group had been supporting the promotion of bio-fortified crops in Nigeria.

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