Vice President Kashim Shettima, on Tuesday, called on the new National Council on Nutrition to prioritise innovation and research to transform the nation’s nutritional landscape.

“I wish to appeal to all members to prioritise innovation and research in the field of nutrition,” Shettima said when he inaugurated the new National Council on Nutrition at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The State House Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, Olusola Abiola, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday titled, ‘VP Shettima sets agenda for new national council on nutrition, wants innovation, practical strategies prioritised’.

According to him, “We must embrace technology, leverage digital solutions, and invest in research and development to discover sustainable and scalable solutions for our nutrition challenges.

“This aligns with our pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.”

By harnessing the power of innovation and making prudent investments, the VP reasoned that the council can fundamentally transform Nigeria’s nutritional landscape, creating lasting and meaningful change.

Shettima, who is the Chairman of the Council, said though there are challenges to the actualisation of set targets and goals, “we must collaborate to enhance nutrition governance, ensure the widespread availability of nutritious food, champion optimal infant and young child nutrition, and bolster nutrition education and awareness campaigns.

“While funding is undeniably crucial, we must also prioritise streamlining processes, implementing practical strategies, and fostering genuine collaboration to overcome the hurdles before us. A healthy nation isn’t just a happier one; it’s also safer.”

The Vice President said the occasion is not only to emphasise that the quality of what the nation consumes is just as important as the quantity but also to renew commitment to understanding the connection between food and human security.

Shettima added that the composition of the NCN is a testament to the priority accorded to the nutrition of every Nigerian in line with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s agenda for food and nutrition security in Nigeria.

He said, “The Council being inaugurated today stands ready to foster political determination and the utilization of our resources to eradicate malnutrition.

“This is our realistic pathway towards attaining the objectives outlined in the National Policy on Food and Nutrition.

“I am, therefore, confident that the diverse assembly of stakeholders within this council will facilitate comprehensive multi-stakeholder engagement, encompassing various sectors such as health, agriculture, social protection, and more, as well as spanning across different levels of government,” he added.

The VP acknowledged the support of stakeholders in the private sector and the UN, noting that “we are truly fortunate to have partners who offer their technical, subject matter, and financial expertise to support the government’s efforts in addressing this pressing challenge.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Atiku Bagudu, said the inauguration of the NCN will ensure further consolidation on the successes already recorded in the sector, especially the country’s alignment with the global direction to develop Food Systems Transformation Pathways.

He disclosed that the implementation of the priority actions in the Food Systems Transformation Pathways had commenced in all 36 states, including the FCT.

Present at the meeting were Ministers of Agriculture, Sen. Abubakar Kyari; Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris; Women Affairs, Mrs. Uju Kennedy; Health, Prof. Ali Pate; Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Beta Edu; Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof. Joseph Utsev; World Bank Country Director, Mr. Shubam Chauhdri; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Muhammad Sanusi II, and UNICEF Country Rep, Cristiane Munduate, among others.