Lagos, April 29, 2019 An industrialist, Chief Eric Umeofia, has pledged to assist the Federal Government in addressing the challenges of malnutrition in the country.
Umeofia, Chief Executive of Erisco Foods, made the pledge in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Lagos.
He said that good nutrition is the bedrock of child survival, health and sustainable development of the country.
“According to the United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), an estimated 2.5 million children in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition, but only two out of every 10 children affected are currently reached with treatment.
“Also, seven per cent of women of childbearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition.
“The situation is a source of concern because malnutrition is as a result of poverty; people are not eating the right food due to poverty.
“We cannot continue to approach international community begging for aids when we have all it takes to curb hunger and poverty in a nation that is blessed with abundant arable land and resources,” he said.
According to him, Erisco Foods has developed a Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to give malnourished children the vital nutrients they need to recover.
Umeofia said that the development of the RUTF was in line with the Federal Government’s commitment to encouraging local manufacturers to support government in its efforts to reduce malnutrition in the country.
“The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, visited our factory in Lagos and expressed satisfaction with the quality of the company’s products.
“He pledged to introduce the product to UNICEF and other international agencies for patronage and said that the production of RUTF by Erisco Foods will ensure that provision of RUTF in the country is no longer solely dependent on imports,’’ he said.
Umeofia said that the product would support government’s efforts to improved the nutrition status of children in the country, save foreign exchange and boost economic growth.
NNN reports that RUTF is a nutrient and energy-rich peanut-based paste that helps to treat nutritional deficiencies in children, particularly children suffering from severe malnutrition.