By: Wale Ibrahim,Lokoja
Synergos Nigeria has trained 35 community-level primary actors in nutrition to strengthen nutritional awareness, attitudes and practices at the grassroots in line with the Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Project of the Federal Government.
Dr Lawal Bakare, Health Communications Consultant with Synergos Nigeria disclosed this at the end of a two-day capacity-building training workshop for the participants drawn from communities in six Local Government Areas of Kogi on Friday in Lokoja.
Bakare said the participants who were actors working directly or indirectly on nutrition at the Local Government level were drawn-in to activate their communication awareness capacity and to strengthen their output in terms of nutritional awareness.
The consultant who described nutrition as core and central to life said the Nigerian nation had nutrition problem saying that while some countries in the world were in the red-band category, Nigeria was medium on yellow band.
He said that the country with its natural endowment in terms of fertile arable land and assorted agricultural crops had the capacity to tackle poverty and malnutrition by entrenching good nutrition habits through eating of good food.
Mr Victor Adejoh, Synergos Nigeria, Field Manager for Kaduna, Kogi and Benue States said the organization, under the aegis of the State Partnership for Agriculture, (SPA) was out to create awareness through the training, in the grassroots on nutrition.
“We want to see how they (key stakeholders, participants) can evolve ways of ensuring that ahead of domestication of the National Food Security and Nutrition Strategy they are able to turn around, negative trends around nutrition,” Adejoh said.
He said the workshop was a follow up to the Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Awareness Training conducted in Kaduna in May, as part of the current strategic policy development for food security and nutrition domiciled at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
One of the participants, Mr Idris Alfa, Information Officer, Igalamela-Odolu Local Government said the training was worthwhile in view of the high rate of malnutrition among women and children in rural areas.
“We are desirous to go back and home and hold meetings with our traditional rulers, women and even men groups on these awareness and take our campaign to Primary Health Centres as good avenues for the enlightenment,” Alfa added.
Mrs Rachael Tokula, Director, Home Economics at the state Ministry of Agriculture said it was proper for the nutritional value of any crop to be taken into consideration from planting to harvesting, storage, processing and consuming points to guarantee good health.
The Director, Women, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Josephine Motunrayo said the ministry on its part, had evolved measures to encourage women to go into farming and produce highly nutritious crops like orange flesh potatoes among others.
The participants were drawn from Nutrition Desks of Primary Health Centres; Local Government Information Officers; Agriculture Extension Workers; Farmers’ Associations; state Ministries of Agriculture and Women Affairs.