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Malnutrition, a national pandemic in Nigeria – U.S. SOY

United States Soy (U.S. SOY) says the high rate of protein deficiency in Nigeria is a national pandemic and a huge drain on the country’s…

United States Soy (U.S. SOY) says the high rate of protein deficiency in Nigeria is a national pandemic and a huge drain on the country’s human capital.

No fewer than 59 million Nigerians are macronutrient deficient and about 45 per cent of deaths among children under the age of five are linked to malnutrition, according to the FAO.

According to various researches, protein is a basic nutrient needed for the development, upkeep, and repair of body cells.

Protein deficiency in Nigeria poses not only a major health burden but also stunting, mental hindrance (especially in infants), surliness, and crankiness.

U.S. SOY Country Representative for Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa, Dr Michael David, while expressing worry at the fourth Soy Excellence Centre (SEC) Advisory Council Meeting, which was held in Lagos recently, lamented the low protein consumption across Nigeria with a protein per capita daily intake lower than global standard.

He said to overcome this challenge, the Nigerian government has the leading role to play but the private sector like U.S. SOY also play a critical role in ensuring that Nigeria overcomes the lingering problem of protein deficiency.

David said part of what U.S. SOY is doing in Nigeria to help address the problem is the establishment of the Nigeria Soy Excellence Centre (SEC) which is a workforce training and capacity building program to help drive efficiency in the Soy value chain-poultry, aquaculture, human consumption etc.

At presently, SEC provides training and capacity building in poultry production, feed milling, agronomy, and aquaculture.

He added that the centre trains key practitioners who will in turn take the knowledge back to their organisations to improve efficiency and achieve better productivity.

Efficiency in the value chain will result in farmers producing at lower costs, stabilizing prices, and improving access to protein.

According to him, SEC Nigeria has already trained over 250 stakeholders in its first year of operation and will double the figure in 2022 with the coming on stream of feed mill and aquaculture tracks.

He said, “Protein deficiency is a national pandemic in Nigeria which requires concerted efforts of all stakeholders. Through the Soy Excellence Center, U.S. SOY is committed to helping Nigeria address the challenge through capacity building”.