Nigerian farmers help Nestlé address micronutrient deficiency

Posted: 28 August 2012 | Nestlé | No comments yet

Thousands of farmers in Nigeria are supplying the grain for a new range of Nestlé ready-to-eat cereals…

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Thousands of farmers in Nigeria are supplying the grain for a new range of Nestlé ready-to-eat cereals designed to help address two of the country’s most prevalent micronutrient deficiencies.

The company is using maize from local producers as the main ingredient in its Golden Morn family cereals, which are fortified with iron and vitamin A.

The new range, launched recently in Nigeria, is part of Nestlé’s continued effort to fortify some of its most popular products in markets where there is a need.

It follows the company’s launch of iron-enriched versions of its multi-billion selling Maggi bouillon tablets and cubes in Central and West Africa (CWAR) earlier this year.

High penetration

“Golden Morn is one of the most popular ready-to-eat cereal brands in Nigeria,” said Christian Abboud, Business Executive Manager for the Dairy Category at Nestlé CWAR. “More than 210 million servings are consumed in the country every year.

“By fortifying the product, we are offering millions of Nigerian families the opportunity to increase their intake of two essential micronutrients as part of their daily breakfast.

“Our goal is to have a positive impact throughout the value chain, not only on local people’s diets, but also on the livelihoods of the local farmers we work with.”

Consequences of deficiencies

About one third of pre-school children in Nigeria are deficient in vitamin A, while more than three quarters suffer from iron deficiency.

Young children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to iron deficiency because they need higher levels of the mineral for growth.

The consequences of a long-term lack of iron in the diet can include impaired mental development in children and weakened immune function.

Nestlé is committed to helping reduce the global burden of micronutrient deficiencies by fortifying suitable food products with specific vitamins and minerals lacking in local populations’ diets.

Worldwide, the company provided 53 billion servings of iron, 102 billion servings of iodine, 35 billion servings of vitamin A and 14 billion servings of zinc through this approach in 2011.

Better quality grains

Golden Morn is produced at Nestlé’s factory in Agbara, Nigeria.

The local farmers supplying the maize for the product are involved in the company’s ‘Grains Quality Improvement Project’.

The initiative, launched by Nestlé in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, aims to reduce the levels of naturally occurring mycotoxins found in cereal grains.

Farmers in Nigeria and Ghana are trained to follow simple, efficient practices to prevent their crops being lost to these contaminants, while cereal suppliers are trained in better storage methods.

About 30,000 farmers have taken part in the project since it began in 2009, benefiting from increased yields and higher prices for safer, better quality grains.

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