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April 2024

Kebbi launches fortified rice to combat micronutrient deficiency

The Kebbi State Government has launched its fortified rice, as part of the Federal Government’s goal of combating micronutrient deficiency in the country.

The rice, produced in partnership with WACOT Rice Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group, was launched at the Abuja Intercontinental Hotel following the successful fortified rice pilot under the Promoting Rice Fortification in Nigeria (PRiFN) project.

The project was once done in collaboration with Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Health and other key ministries, departments, and agencies.

On the project, the Kebbi State Government worked with WACOT Rice, producers of Big Bull Rice and Patriot, among others, to demonstrate the feasibility of rice fortification in the country.

At the event attended by government officials, including the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Umar Abubakar, the Managing Director of WACOT Rice, Neeraj Kumar, affirmed the company’s commitment to producing quality and nutritious rice to meet Nigeria’s needs.

He said, “The successful pilot of the rice fortification project is a significant stride towards a healthier, stronger Nigeria. We are immensely proud to have played a central role in this initiative to bring fortified rice to Nigerians.”

Kumar assured that WACOT Rice, which has made tremendous contributions to Kebbi State under its corporate social responsibility projects, would continue to boost Nigeria’s food security.

The Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Umar Abubakar, reaffirmed the commitment to forging strategic partnerships with key stakeholders in the fortification value chain. He said, “This stakeholder partnership aims to enhance the value of rice production through micronutrient fortification, resulting in multiple victories for our state. Not only does this endeavour boost local production and economic development, but it also promotes the consumption of nutritionally enriched food.”

The Country Director, World Food Programme (WFP), David Stevenson, commended Nigeria’s expansive Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, targeting up to 10 million children.

He added that fortifying rice within this initiative, led by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, is essential to unlocking children’s full potential.

“Nigeria loses an estimated $1.5b of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) yearly to micronutrient deficiencies, as per the World Bank. Kudos to Kebbi State for introducing fortified rice into the school feeding programme, reaching vulnerable children and young girls.

“With the successful launch, fortified rice will become a potent tool in Nigeria’s fight against malnutrition. It will also be integrated into the school feeding programme in Kebbi State.” QR Code

Published Date: November 26, 2023

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