The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC said it was collaborating with stakeholders in Nigeria to tackle malnutrition and stunted growth among children.
Dr Mulubrhan Amare, Associate Research Fellow, IFPRI disclosed this during an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna on Sunday.
Amare made this known after delivering a paper tagged “Feed the Future” during a one day seminar on “Urbanisation, Child Undernutrition and Public Health.”
According to NAN the seminar sponsored by the USAID had in attendance Ministeries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), Non Governmental Organisations and Civil Society Organisations as stakeholders.
“The survey we carried out for the USAID in 2018 revealed that there are 9.7 million stunted children in Nigeria today as a result of malnutrition.
“Among them 6 million are from Northern part of the country which accounts for more than 50 per cent,” he said.
He said that there was need for specific intervention to solve the problem hence bringing the stakeholders together to brainstorm.
The researcher said that the USAID was sponsoring a five year project in the country to tackle the issue.
Dr Ibrahim Musa, Permanent Secretary, Niger Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the seminar was an opportunity for the state government to know more about child/mother mortality rate.
Musa, who was represented by Abdullahi Aliyu, the ministry’s Director of Agricultural Services, said that the measure would help the government to know the population of children to enable it proffer solution to the malnutrition issue.
He promised that government would facilitate any programme that would bring about good nutrition for children.
Mrs Laiatu Danladi, Chairman Scaling Up Nutrition in Niger, a Civil Society Organisation, acknowledged that malnutrition in the North has resulted in stunted development in children
Danladi said that another factor contributing to the issue of malnutrition in the North was the issue of insurgency and banditry.
“The current insurgency and banditry being tackled by the Federal Government has displaced many families making them to lose their source of livelihood.
“In some cases many parents and breadwinners have been killed leaving children to suffer,” she said.
She recommended continuous sensitisation about nutrition among women, religious and traditional leaders to ensure that it gets to the grassroots.