Lagos, Sept. 27, 2023: The Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG), says industrial food fortification is a critical strategy for addressing micronutrient deficiency in Nigeria.
Mr Dianabasi Akpaninyang, Thematic Lead, Input and Distribution Thematic Group, Agriculture and Food Security Policy Commission, NESG, said this during the group’s visit to Dangote Salt, on Tuesday in Lagos.
The third party advocacy campaign visit on food fortification and workforce nutrition to NASCON Allied Industries Plc, producers of Dangote salt, was done in collaboration with the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, and eHealth Africa.
Akpaninyang said, “Micronutrient deficiency is a major public health problem in Nigeria, affecting millions of people, especially children and women.
“It has led to a range of health problems, including stunting, anemia, and blindness.
“So, we are here to raise awareness of the importance of industrial food fortification among businesses as well as provide technical assistance to businesses, to help them implement industrial food fortification programmes.”
Akpaninyang said that the visit was also to raise awareness on the importance of micronutrient deficiency and to advice on effective strategies for addressing it.
He urged the company to promote workforce nutrition among staff members, adding that a well-nourished workforce was essential for economic growth and development.
He said that workforce nutrition could reduce absenteeism, improve workers productivity, reduced healthcare costs, increase employee morale, among others.
He urged the company to ensure its workers ate food fortified with essential vitamins and minerals.
Earlier, Mr Danjuma Musa, Quality Assurance/Control Head, NASCON Allied Industries Plc, said that Dangote salt was fortified with iodine that would help the growth and development of the human body.
He said, “Let me start by saying that salt that is produced in Nigeria must be fortified; so all our salt, irrespective of the end user, is fortified with iodine.
“Fortification of salt with iodine is a safe and effective way to prevent iodine deficiency.
“Dangote salt is fortified with iodine at the recommended and specified level, making it a good choice for people who are looking to improve their iodine intake.”
Musa said that Iodine fortification of salt was a mandatory requirement in Nigeria, adding that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has established a standard for the iodine content of fortified salt.
According to him, the Dangote salt must comply with this standard to sell it salt in the country.
He urged consumers to buy and use only Dangote salt saying It is widely available and affordable for everyone and it is also known for its high quality.
The Human Resource Manager, Dangote salt, Mrs Helen Omoba, said that the company had implemented a fortified meal plan that would benefit their employees and the company.
She said,” we have educated our employees about the benefits of a fortified diet.
“We have explained to them how fortified meals can help them to improve their health, productivity, and overall well-being.
“That is why we came up with a fortified meal plan for them, eventhough some of them don’t follow the plan.
“We have also provided our employees with a budget to purchase fortified meals at the end of every month among other things that we are doing for them, and they are happy.”