In view of Nigeria’s growing burden of malnutrition, Nestle Nigeria Plc has unveiled a new variant one of its flagship product, Golden Morn with soya, being part of efforts to help tackle anemia in children and women in their reproductive age.
The World Bank report on the prevalence of anemia in the country shows that as at 2016, 68 per cent of children under the age of five years are anaemic, while 50 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 years in Nigeria also suffer from anaemia. At least 50 per cent of these cases can be traced to iron deficiency, the report says.
This is just as Nestle one of the foods and drink manufacturing giants have moved to curb the unpleasant trend through the promotion of Nutrition sensitive agriculture.
In line with the Federal Government determination, the nutrition company weekend introduced its new and improved Golden Morn, a maize and soya cereal, now fortified with GrainSmart.
GrainSmart is a unique blend of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, Vitamin C, and Iron.
Announcing this during the relaunch of Golden Morn in Lagos, Mr Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Nigeria Plc, corroborated the World Bank reports and linked the prevalence of anemia in Nigeria with iron deficiency.
Alarcon said to complement the Federal Government’s efforts to reduce micronutrients deficiency among Nigerians, “Nestlé has been nourishing Nigeria for over 58 years, delighting individuals and families with high-quality nutritious food products.
“We keep working to make our portfolio even healthier and tastier. For instance, with the addition of GRAINSMART, a serving of the new Golden Morn provides 25 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Iron among another key micronutrients.”
He said besides having the production materials and ingredients 100 percent locally sourced, the cereal has increased vitamins and minerals with the inclusion of smart grain, which is necessary to combat undernourishment and vitamin deficiency. According to him, almost 200 million people in Africa are undernourished, while Nigeria has almost 26 million undernourished people.
“The re-launch of Golden morn today is one more step towards fulfilling our commitment to helping address the health challenges created by micronutrients deficiency, especially iron deficiency among the most vulnerable in our society.
“At Nestle, we are committed to helping to develop a sustainable solution to this menace through the inclusion of bio-fortified food crops and the fortification of our products. Over 80 per cent of Nestle products sold in Nigeria is fortified with micronutrients reaching 34 million households.” Alarcon said.
He reasoned that since the cereal is 100 percent locally sourced from its agricultural ingredients to its packaging materials, this not only ensures supply but also contribute to transforming SMEs involved in the Nestle value chain.
Regardless of the production cost, Alarcon stressed Nestle will continue to value to its consumers, “Our business model is built on our belief that our business will only be profitable in the long term by creating value for shareholders and for society, particularly in the communities where we operate, a concept we call Creating Shared Value (CSV).”
Aboubakar Coulibaly, Category Manager, Dairy, Nestle Nigeria, said aside from providing more health benefits, it has an improved package which will improve consumer attraction.
Contributing, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, the Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health who raised alarm over the nutrition the situation in the country said: “When children have anaemia it retards their growths, makes them vulnerable to diseases, impairs their capacity for learning and also exposes them to infections. Women who have high iron deficiency are exposed to risk during pregnancy, so the government has taken a number of steps to address that. One of such is the allocation of iron in flour which is stable among others.”
Isokpunwu, who also commended Nestlé for its contributions towards improving Nigeria’s health indices further said, “In line with her purpose of ‘enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future,’ Nestlé is working towards enabling healthier and happier lives. By so doing, it is helping the development of resilient and thriving communities, contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger), 3-Good Health and Wellbeing and 17 -Partnerships for the Goal).”
Speaking at the occasion, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, represented by Mrs. Karima Babangida, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, commended Nestlé Nigeria Plc for being a key stakeholder and partner of the Ministry in producing and supplying quality and nutritious products towards the reduction of malnutrition in the country.
The Minister said that the focus is to reverse the ugly trend and poor statistics of Nigeria’s burden of malnutrition.
He said, “As we all know, malnutrition slows down development while, on the other hand, improved nutrition is key to healthy life, cognitive development in our children, higher productivity.
“The relaunch of Gold Morn fortified with vitamins and minerals could not have come at a better time than now. This is a typical private sector investment that would contribute to greatly reducing malnutrition and boosting the economy of our nation.
“The Federal Government is encouraging more private sector investments in the production and marketing of bio-fortified foods and other micro-nutrient-rich commodities.”
Similarly, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Deputy Governor, Ogun State, commended Nestle for its activities and the re-launch describing it as a milestone towards the industrialisation and development of the State.
Salako-Oyedele, who was represented by Olubola Aikulola, Permanent Secretary, Ministry Of Commerce and Industry described the company as a good partner in progress and urged them to continue increasing their contribution to State development through employment generation, product variety, and other avenues.