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Better nutrition for African children

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Flickr/IITA

A step towards better nutrition for African children

by Alex Abutu

Speed read

  • A cassava staple is consumed by more than 130 million people in Nigeria
  • Fortifying it with soy could help address protein deficiencies
  • An expert urges Africa to embrace the move to address malnutrition in children

Fortification of foodstuffs could be one of the most cost-effective health interventions for addressing micronutrient malnutrition, especially among children in low-resource settings, experts says.

At a workshop hosted by the Nigeria-headquartered International Institute for Tropical Agriculture last month (4-6 October) in Nigeria, experts added that fortified gari — a creamy white or yellow flour with a slightly fermented flavour and a slightly sour taste made from fermented, gelatinised fresh cassava tubers — could ensure the success of the school feeding programme in the country.

“Fortifying it will increase the number of children who survive to five years of age.”

Francis Aminu, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

Francis Aminu, country director of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, said that that gari is consumed by over 130 million people in Nigeria, thus serving as complementary foods for children aged 6 months to 2 years.

They added that gari, if not fortified, has high levels of carbohydrates but lacks essential nutrients such as protein, fat, vitamins and minerals needed in adequate supply by the body.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.