GAIN grants N48m to 16 businesses to enhance food security, nutrition

An international NGO, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), has awarded N48 million to 16 businesses in four states to enhance food security and nutrition in the country.

Dr. Micheal Ojo, Country Director, GAIN, said at the Micro-Grant Funding for Nutritious Business Award ceremony in Abuja that the award was in recognition of the businesses’ innovative ideas towards enhancing access to nutritious food and diets for Nigerians.

“The 16 businesses we recognised today have not only demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of nutrition but have also passed a rigorous multilayered evaluation to demonstrate their commitment and expertise in furthering this worthy mission.

“The microgrant funding of N3 million each, totaling N48 million, is not just a financial award but a testament to the belief we place in these entrepreneurs.

“It is an investment in the future of food security and nutrition in Nigeria.

“With this funding, these businesses are poised to scale up operations, improve food safety standards, and, most importantly, increase the availability, accessibility, and consumption of nutritious foods across the country.

“It will directly contribute to food security by ensuring that more households have access to affordable, nutritious food options, which are essential for healthy living and sustainable development,” Ojo said.

He explained that through the Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples Project (SNIPS), the awardees from Benue, Kaduna, Oyo, and Nasarawa States had transitioned to nutrient-enriched varieties of cassava, sweet potatoes, and maize.

The country director added that they had ventured into the processing of biofortified vitamin A cassava, vitamin A maize, and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, thereby enriching diets.

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Also speaking, Murtala Dabo, Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture, Kaduna State, commended the organisation for its support towards tackling malnutrition in the country.

Dabo, represented by Shehu Dalhat, a Director in the Ministry, said that the government was committed to prioritising agriculture, adding that N24 billion was budgeted for the sector in this year’s budget.

Also, Mr. Olasunkanmi Olaleye, Oyo State Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the support for the organisation had improved food security and the agriculture value chain in the state.

Olaleye called for more collaboration to improve access to nutritious foods and diets.

On his part, Abubakar Imam, the Nasarawa State Commissioner of Trade, Industry, and Investment, reiterated its commitment to improving nutrition and food security, adding that a department for nutrition was established to ensure its success.

Prof. Moses Ogbaji, Commissioner, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Benue State, urged the organisation to research and invest in African Yam Bean, which, he said, was going extinct.

Ogbaji said the African yam bean was underutilized despite its immense nutritional value, which could ameliorate malnutrition in Nigeria.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other activities at the award ceremony were cultural performances, the conferment of awards, and the exhibition of some of the fortified value chains of cassava, maize, and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. (NAN)

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