By Mu’azu Shehu
The Association for Promotion of Food Safety and Improved Nutrition (APFSAN), has sensitised students and other stakeholders holders on the significance of safe nutritious foods for optimal nutrition and well-being in the state.
Kebbi State Coordinator of the association, Dr Yusuf Abubakar-Bashir, said in Birnin Kebbi on Thursday that the one-day symposium was part of the activities commemorating World Food Day.
He said that the APFSAN was inaugurated by the Eatsafe Programme in Nigeria, funded by the United States Agency for International Development ( USAID) on 8 September 2022.
He also explained that the object of establishing the APFSAN was to promote, educate, sensitise and create awareness on food safety in traditional markets in the state.
“The association encourages and improves the demand for and consumption of safe and nutritious foods by consumers in the state.
“It organises and executes programmes, workshops and seminars on food safety among farmers, food vendors, consumers, processors and other actors in the food value chain.
“It also partners with government, ministries, departments and agencies, non-governmental organizations, corporate entities, natural regional and interventional bodies, including the United Nations and its agencies for the development of the objective of the organisation, ” he said.
Abubakar-Bashir said the objective of sensitising the students was to promote, educate, sensitise and create awareness on the significance of safe nutritious foods for optimal nutrition and well-being in the state.
Earlier, the Head of Eatsafe Country Programme in Nigeria, Dr Augustine Okoruwa, said that foodborne diseases are responsible for 200,000 deaths and 173 million diarrheal disease cases in the country.
“Consuming unsafe food can result in foodborne diseases (FBD). Annually in Nigeria, FBD is responsible for 173 million diarrheal disease cases, 200,000 deaths and 33,000 deaths from diarrheal disease.
“Foodborne diseases can affect nutrient intake and metabolism. This can impact a variety of human health outcomes and have lifelong effects.
” Many nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetable and animal source food, can carry food-borne pathogens,” he said.
Okoruwa said the objective of eatsafe’s intervention was to consolidate and generate knowledge and evidence as well as develop and test consumer and vendor tools to reduce food safety risks to consumers.
“We want to generate evidence of how to engage and empower consumers to demand safe, nutritious food.
“Eatsafe formative research is testing four food safety interventions to enable lasting improvements in the safety of nutritious foods in two traditional good markets of Binrin Kebbi Central Market, in Kebbi state and Dankure Market in Sokoto State,” he said.
In her remarks, the Chairperson of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition, who is the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Hajiya Aisha Usman, noted that the USAID was working in collaboration with all stakeholders to ensure food safety in the markets and schools in the state.
“This is a very important day as we celebrate issues to do with food, its availability and challenges in having food enough, safe and nutritious food.
“It is celebrated on the 16 of October every year but the association decided to support and celebrate the day during weekdays so that we get participants at all levels, especially the students,” he said.
Usman, represented by the Permanent Secretary of state Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Joel Aiki, commended the eatsafe and the association for their support in creating awareness among students, consumers and the entire society.
“We thank you for partnering with the state government and for adding a lot of value to the people of the state,” the chairperson thanked.