As Nigerians record average daily protein intakes of 45.4g, lower than the 53.8g standard recommended by the FAO and 50% of Nigerian children below five suffer malnourishment, steps should be taken to shore up protein production in the country in order to address the challenge of low protein intakes and poor dietary habits. Shortfalls in protein intake are pre dominant, as Nigeria’s daily protein intake is estimated to be 45.4 grams, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Also, a recent UNICEF report stated that, “Five in every 10 Nigerian children under the age of five are malnourished (stunted, wasted or overweight); even as three in every ten Nigerian children aged between one to 23 months live on poor diets due to poverty, urbanisation, climate change and poor eating choices, driving unhealthy diets.
Proteins are essential nutrients for the human body as they are one of the building blocks of body tissue that can also serve as a fuel source. Hence, the need to ensure increased and efficient production of improved foods very rich in protein, such as fish, poultry, animal and dairy products, to address the shortfall that leads to stunting of Nigerian infants. This will also address poor brain development, protein deficiency and other anomalies caused by poor nutrition.
It is this need for increased and qualitative production of protein for Nigerians to bridge the unhealthy gap and ensure healthy growth of Nigerian adults and children that makes Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Livelihood Improvement Support (APPEALS) project vital to the country’s development. The $200 million World Bank project in Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Lagos, Enugu and Cross River states aims at empowering 300,000 youth, women and people living with disabilities. It is a four-year programme equally aims to promote food security, nutrition, agricultural exports and improving livelihood of Nigerians. Blue Print