How government can use farmers to reduce protein deficiency —Experts

EXPERTS in the Nigerian food value chain have suggested ways government can make use of farmers’ expertise to reduce protein defificiency in the country.

Historical data shows that Nigeria has a gap in its protein consumption when compared to other global economies. It is ranked below the bar in global food security index with a protein per capita daily intake lower than global standard. This is a major burden that requires continuous interventions to combat and reduce a nutrition crisis in Nigeria.

Sharing their thoughts during the Protein Challenge Webinar series 8 with the topic: ‘The Nigerian Protein Deficiency Awareness Report 2020: Unpacking the numbers, Exploring the issues’ the panelists listed poor knowledge of food and feeding habbits, poverty, high cost of animal protein among others as core issues facing the alleviation of protein deficiency.

Dr Beatrice Chinyem Oganah-Ikujenyo of the Department of Home Economics, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Oto/Ijanikin Lagos, in her own part posited that government can contribute in no small measure to the reduction of protein deficiency in the country by engaging small holder farmers by granting them easy access to land, farm inputs and implements (improved seedlings, fertiliser, tractors, etc) at subsidised rates.

She also stated that there should be genuine political will by the government to provide rural infrastructure (power, roads, water and markets) that will encourage youth to venture into farming of legumes and animal husbandry.

One of the panelists, Obaro Agbalabri, recommended that there is the need to channel communication to the essence of protein consumption and to push clear information regarding required intake of protein for optimum wellbeing especially in North and East part of the country where there are lower intakes.

In his own contribution, Provost, College of Agriculture, Osun State University, Professor Adetunji Kehinde, called for more government involvement in the awareness campaign for regular intake of protein by the general public.

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