Malnutrition is in trouble in Nigeria.

Two of the world’s richest men, Bill Gates of America and Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, have launched an assault on it.

Dangote and Gates, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations, have expressed commitment to reduce malnutrition in Nigeria by making foods more nutritious.

They made the pledge during the Food Processing and Nutrition Leadership Forum in Lagos where chief executives of leading food processing companies committed to adequate fortification in major food staples by 2020.

Mr. Larry Umunna, the Country Director, TechnoServe Nigeria, said in a statement that the forum marks the start of renewed business-led effort to combat poor nutrition in Nigeria.

According to Ummuna, the partnership will address the lack of access to basic nutrients and vitamins that holds back women and children’s health and development.

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The initiative was part of the Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) project, funded by Gates Foundation and implemented by TechnoServe.

Food fortification is the process of adding micro-nutrients, especially trace elements and vitamins, so as to improve the food’s nutritional quality and provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health.

“As corporate leaders, we can change this trend and prepare for our future – using tools already at our fingertips,” said Dangote of the initiative, while describing it as a welcome development.

According to him, “One of the most powerful solutions for malnutrition is within the food processing industry; the fortification of staple foods such as wheat and maize flour, cooking oil, salt, and sugar with essential vitamins and minerals”.

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