malnutrition child
Young, sick children in Nigeria that are facing malnutrition.

FG, GAIN Launch Policy on Fisheries, Aquaculture to Curb Malnutrition

The Federal Government and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) yesterday in Abuja unveiled a policy brief on fisheries and aquaculture, to address the issue of malnutrition in the country.

Country Director of GAIN Dr Micheal Ojo, said the policy aims at highlighting the great potentials inherent in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, which had for so long been overlooked.

According to Ojo, animal-sourced foods are really important to reduce the level of malnutrition which has continued to increase due to lack of access to diverse and micronutrient-dense food.

“Nigeria is plagued by a double burden of malnutrition as under nutrition exists alongside overweight, obesity, micronutrient deficiencies and associated diet related non-communicable diseases.

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“Nigeria loses 1.5 billion dollars Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to micronutrient deficiencies and dietary inadequacies are one of the most pressing reasons for people experiencing multiple nutrient deficiencies and subsequent morbidity and mortality in Nigeria. Aquatic foods have considerable potential in helping to fill this nutrient gap and improve the quality of our diets,” he said.

Also speaking, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development added that the document would serve as a guide to addressing the many challenges that the fisheries and aquaculture sector encounter.

Abubakar, represented by Mrs Fausat Lawal, Director, Special Duties at the ministry, added that, aside from the provision of food, the aquatic environment has the potential of regulating climate and providing jobs for more Nigerians.

“I have tasked my team on how we can work to sustainably make agricultural products available to the average Nigerian so as to improve nutrition and create jobs and fisheries and aquaculture is at the heart of this objective, because it provides the cheapest form of protein. Aquaculture is the fastest growing sector and I have mandated the department to work towards increasing aquaculture production by an additional 250,000 Metric Tonnes since I assumed office, this is to help us create an additional 1.1 million jobs in the sector,” he said.

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