A high-level delegation of the Nigerian government arrived in Odisha on Tuesday to learn the state’s experience in rice fortification.
The delegation led by John Uruakpa, the director of Nigeria’s federal ministry of health, held a meeting with Development Commissioner Anu Garg at the Lok Seva Bhawan.
The Nigerian government is formulating a national strategy to tackle micronutrient deficiencies. The government has identified rice, one of the staples in that country, as a part of the national fortification programme, officials said.
India’s rice fortification implementation experience is a valuable example for Nigeria, especially the manner in which the ecosystem has been created around it, they said.
Uruakpa said this visit aims to provide first-hand experience and knowledge to the stakeholders, equipping them to efficiently kick-start a rice fortification pilot project in Kebbi state using the school feeding program as a delivery mechanism.
Garg said that Odisha completed the introduction of fortified rice across the state in all food-based schemes a year ahead of the deadline given by Centre.
Odisha began the first rice fortification programme in the country, in 2012 in the Gajapati district, she said, adding that the state government is open to sharing its experiences and learning, especially towards addressing malnutrition and creating food security.
The country director of World Food Programme in India Elisabeth Faure said, “The visit aims to learn from India’s implementation journey’s successes, challenges, and lessons. Also, to identify how these learning can be adapted and implemented in the Nigerian context.”
The delegation will visit rice fortification sites to understand the process, machinery used, quality control measures, and safety standards, officials said.
They will also meet food regulation officials to discuss regulatory aspects and compliance measures. They will also interact with policymakers, designing and implementing the rice fortification programme.
This article has been republished from Odishatv