Wife of the President, Hajiya Aisha Buhari, has called on the private sector to increase efforts towards local production of ‘ready-to-use therapeutic food’ (RUTF).
The RUTF is used to tackle severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
She made the call in Abuja during an interactive session with stakeholders from the private sector and government organizations, convened by her foundation.
Hajiya Aisha said Nigeria was one of the highest contributors to severe acute malnutrition in the world and that it was unacceptable for the country to continue to rely on importation of RUTF.
She urged private sector investors to focus more on the long term impact of the investment by making commitments to invest or at least support the set-up of new and the improvement of existing RUTF production plants.
She said, “Beyond being a lucrative business venture, I implore you to see this investment as an opportunity to not only contribute to national economic growth and also save the lives of Nigerian children, for which posterity will thank you.”
She also called on the government to enact policies that support local production and procurement of RUTF in Nigeria.
She said her passion for ending childhood malnutrition led her to establishing the ‘Get Involved nutrition campaign’ in 2016.
Hajiya Aisha said she had mobilised food support for thousands of families and initiated several conversations about locally sourced alternatives to treat malnutrition through the initiative.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, said the Buhari administration had already started working alongside the recommendations of the First Lady through the administration’s policy of “Eat What You Grow.”
He called for awareness creation amongst the populace, saying malnutrition was not always about poverty but also ignorance.