19 Nigerian firms partner with SUNN to fight malnutrition
As part of efforts towards tackling the menace of malnutrition, 19 Nigerian businesses have joined the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SUNN), which recently hosted a one-day workshop in Lagos where the nutrition-focused business membership platform initiated by the Network was launched.
Gathered to witness the event were stakeholders in nutrition from government, civil society, donor organisations, and the private sector.
The key actors that have joined the coalition include Dansa Foods, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nutricima, BASF (German chemical giant) and several other organizations, all of which formed the ‘early risers’ committed to investing more resources towards improving nutrition.
A representative the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. G.O. Opara; President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria and Chairman Civil Society (CS)-SUNN, Prof. Ngozi Nnam; SUNN Focal point and Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu; and Managing Director (MD)/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dangote Foundation, Ms. Zouera Youssoufou, were some of the panelists and contributors at the event.
According to the World Bank, malnutrition not only contributes to close to 50 per cent of deaths in children under five, but also results in a massive cost for the nation; and Nigeria loses over US$1.5 billion (N300 billion) in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually to vitamin and mineral deficiencies alone.
Chairman Dansa Foods, who is also the chairman of Nigeria AgriBusiness Group, Alhaji Sani Dangote, in his opening remarks, encouraged other stakeholders to see the business case for investment and view improving nutrition as a great business opportunity.
Participants at the workshop had an opportunity to share the latest results in consumer research from a presentation facilitated by IPSOS Healthcare, and the need for such research in new product formulation and marketing.
The SUN Business Network Coordinator, Dr. Angela Attah stressed the need for collaboration, commitment and action in the actualisation of improved nutrition in Nigeria and globally, through business investment in order to build a virile workforce for the economy and a strong consumer base for the future.