By Olanrewaju Akojede
Five Nigerians including a former journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo, are expected to represent Nigeria at the Nutrition Africa Investment Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, in October.
Onigbanjo, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), August Secrets, is among the nutritionists selected from no fewer than 140 applicants of entrepreneurs and investors in nutrition in Nigeria.
The initiator of the Nutrition Investment Forum tagged: “The Nourish Nigeria Challenge is Scaling-Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and FATE Foundation.’’
The conglomerate provides support for the scaling up nutrition and food safety with special focus on businesses that are innovatively supporting the value chain to improve diet and malnutrition issues Nigeria.
Other recipients were Hakeem Jimoh, Founder, Veggie Victory; Ifeoluwa Olatayo, CEO, Sowpah and Oluyemisi Obe, Managing Director, Grandios Pap and Ope Olanrewaju, of Kennie O Cold Chain Logistics, Kwara.
Speaking on the nomination, Dr Michael Ojo, the Country Director of GAIN, said:
“The recipients are those that stood out during the intense contest among the 140 applicants from 26 states across Nigeria.
“What we want to achieve is to provide support for entrepreneurs in nutrition. Our focus is to fight malnutrition in Nigeria and not only that, over nutrition as well.
“The programme is about the local elevator pitch competition for business founders to showcase how their iNutri-Pitch products and services promote nutrition in Nigeria.
“From there, we also provide funding through our partners from across the world too, because funding may also be an issue to the sustainability of the business as we know that in Africa,’’ Ojo said.
He said that the company had been in the vanguard of fighting malnutrition in Africa for over one and half decades now, adding it was unfortunate that things were still moving at slower pace.
“Our company has been in the forefront of tackling malnutrition in Africa for over 16 years; since we started, we have tried to face the issue of malnutrition headlong.
“We have been working for over 10 years in Nigeria, but unfortunately, we have yet to see an appreciable progress because when we look at the indices of malnutrition, they still stare at us in the face.
“When we look at the number of children that are stunted, it is on the high side; so everybody has a part to play, the government and the private sector as well.
“There is a need to make food affordable, not food alone, but essential foods that contain necessary vitamins and proteins that are good for the body.
“It is not a matter of consuming starchy food, but eating rightly,’’ he said.
One of the recipients, Onigbanjo said that the forum would provide the needed opportunity to meet with nutritionists from across Africa.
“I think this is an opportunity to be on the business roundtable from across Africa to discuss and find a solution to malnutrition. It is a project that we must all seek to address.
“I am elated to be part of this project for the Africa challenge, because it is for the nourishment of our people and also a big challenge for me to work hard.
“In terms of promoting adequate nutrition and food component, I am sure with adequate funding and research, Nigeria and Africa can be liberated from malnutrition,’’ she said.
Another recipient, Olanrewaju, said that his company “seeks to reduce food wastage and post-harvest loss in Nigeria.
According to him, post-harvest loss is a big issue that needed attention.
“I think we need to also look critically at the issue of post-harvest loss in Nigeria, because it is an economic waste. This is what pushes me to set up my business.
“It is a matter for the government and private sector to address. I think there is also a need to talk about it in Africa too,’’ he said.