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The 2016 Food Sustainability Index published by The Economist Intelligence Unit has predicted that Nigerians may face severe nutrition crisis in 2017.

The New Index report, which ranked Nigeria 24th out of 25 countries for the nutritional health of its population, noted that nutritional problems were more pronounced in the North-East due to the conflict between Boko Haram insurgents and the army.

The index research manager, Maria-Luiza Apostolescu, urged the Federal Government to improve on the health outcomes of her citizens by implementing policies that will boost agricultural output.

Apostolescu said, “Despite major nutrition challenges, Nigeria has huge potential for improving health outcomes of its population through policies and nutritional programmes. There is also room for improvement in terms of agricultural sustainability, especially ensuring that land ownership for smallholders is respected and enforced, which would incentivize farmers to invest in more sustainable farming practices that would safeguard soil quality and preserve water resources.

“Addressing these challenges will make a major contribution to Nigeria’s efforts to reach the Sustainable Development Goals since nutrition and agriculture influences so many social, environmental and economic factors”.

The new index identified undernourishment and micronutrient deficiency as some of the nutritional challenges in the country.

According to the report, Vitamin A deficiency affects 29.5 per cent of the population, impairing immunity and causing blindness, while one-third of the nation’s children under five are stunted.

Source: Punch Newspaper.

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