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Rice Fortification: Kebbi will be first state in West Africa – GAIN Coordinator



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By Abdullahi Faruk Birnin Kebbi


The Project Coordinator of Large Scale Food Fortification,Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Mr Seun Elere, says that Kebbi State will be the first state in Nigeria and West Africa to produce fortified rice.

Mr. Seun Elere stated this during a training of media personnel on Promoting Rice Fortification in the Nigeria (PRiFN) in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday.

He said,” Kebbi state will be the first state, not only in Nigeria but in the whole West African countries to produce fortified rice.

“Already ,we are working with Rice Mills like Wacot, Labana, Lolo Rice Mills, and other Modular Rice Mills on how to fortify their rice.

“We are doing this to strengthen large scale production, and we are creating enabling environment for this processes.”

According to him, promoting rice fortification in the Nigeria (PRiFN) is an initiative between GAIN and the UN WFP.

“PRiFN aims to develop, strengthen and sensitise initiatives for monitoring food trends and flow.

“PRiFN is also to modify agricultural and food trade policies in favour of rice fortification in Nigeria.

” To establish a nationally coordinated process for implementation of rice fortification in the country based on the national roadmap.

“To support local production of fortified rice and development of national standards as well as strengthen the enabling environment for the introduction of fortified rice to the market,” the coordinator said.

Earlier, the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Food Fortification Expert in Nigeria, Mr Ekene Onyeagba, said the WFP worked together in partnership with national and local governments, United Nations’ Agencies as well a private sector and communities to serve the people.

“Governments and line ministries are our key partners as we join programmes with UN agencies to build human capital and resilience.

“Innovative solutions for improve value chains and strengthen food systems.

“Building government systems and pathways to peace and inclusive development while serving communities and empowering vulnerable groups,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Philip Ortese, a GAIN Nigeria representative, said that the objective of the media training was specifically to introduce the PRiFN project and its planned activities for the pilot to media personnel in the state.

“This is in addition to secure their buy- in, socialise media personnel in the state with benefits of fortified rice and solicit their support in promoting these benefits to ease the update of fortified rice for the pilot and scale up in the state.

” Simulate collaboration with the media house/personnel and proper reporting of the rice fortification activities and on rice fortification generally in the state and across the North West region, among others,” Ortese said.

On her remarks, Hajiya Aisha Usman, the Chairperson, the state Food and Nutrition Committee, and Permanent Secretary state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, expressed optimism that the training would make a great difference to the people of the state.

She thanked the organisers of the programme and assured them of the state government’s commitment to supporting the promotion of rice fortification in the state.

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