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HomeHealthNHF, experts wants milk, dairy products in FG's school feeding

NHF, experts wants milk, dairy products in FG’s school feeding

NHF, experts wants milk, dairy products in FG's school feeding

NHF, experts wants milk, dairy products in FG’s school feeding

 

The Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) and nutrition experts have appealed to the Federal Government to fully incorporate milk and dairy products into its National Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).

The experts, who spoke at the NHF’s 2023 World Milk Day Roundtable Meeting held at the Nigerian Institute Of Medical Research, ( NIMR), Lagos, said that milk and dairy products would enhance healthier and intelligent school children.

Speaking, Dr Kingsley Akinroye, the Executive Director, NHF said that the milk and dairy products must be factored into the menu guidelines of NHGSFP to ensure total success, while Nigerians must also regular intake of heart friendly milk.

Akinroye, who noted that the roundtable was part of the foundation’s World Heart Month activities which started on June 1 with Global World Milk Day commemoration, said Nigerians must see milk as food and consume it for healthy living and increased life expectancy.

“We are collaborating with the NHGSFP across states and 10 states here with us today. We need to make sure that the school feeding programme incorporate heart-healthy milk into the nutrients school children are being fed with.

“Not less than 80 per cent of the milk we consume today is imported into the country. We must do backward integration to improve dairy farming to make milk production go up for affordability.

 

“The new government must ensure inclusion of milk in the NHGSFP and also make it affordable for adults to consume in their breakfast, lunch and dinner. The new administration should promote consumption of milk,” Akinroye said.

Calling for more investment in the production of milk, Akinroye said that milk should be consumed right from womb to adulthood because it contains a lot of important nutrients that could enhance healthy heart, brain and increase life expectancy.

He said: “In NHF, we are particular about milk that is heart friendly– low fat, sugar and salt. We are advocating investment in dairy farm because it contribute a lot to the development of a country.

“We have found out that in countries where dairy farming is important, they live long. We feel that our governments need to recognise this, not only the federal government but also the state and local governments.

He said that such investment would not only help to bring up healthy children and population but also create jobs for youths and women as well as improve the economy.

Corroborating, Prof. Olusola Olorunnisomo of the Department of Animal Science, University of Ibadan, said that Nigeria and Nigerians should consider milk as a “super food” and not just to colour tea.

Speaking on Food System and Milk Consumption in Nigeria, Olorunnisomo said: “In Nigeria we are not so much of a milk consuming people and it is very important to let Nigerians know the benefits that lie in taking milk.

“Milk is a very worthy super food that contains all the nutrients that we need for development in our body. As such, milk should form part of our daily diet.”

Urging the Federal and state governments to budget enough fund for school children milk consumption, Olorunnisomo said that by the time the children develop the culture of drinking milk, the next generation would become healthier.

“When children consume milk very well and on daily basis, it helps to develop intelligence. Providing school children milk means we are giving it to the right target population to build their intelligence.

“Milk is very good and we should encourage it among our school children,” he said.

Prof. Adebayo Adeyemi, Director, Scientific Affairs, NHF advocated at least a sachet of NHF certified milk in each meal provided the school children in the NHGSFP.

Mrs Dolapo Coker, a former President, Nigerian Institute of Food Science and Technology said, “a glass of milk a day is the best nutrition for the day but unfortunately milk has become inaccessible for the masses.”

Coker said that if Nigerian government was determined, it could make milk production abundant for the lowest person on the street to afford, just like other developed countries do because of the health benefits.

Speaking, Mrs Aisha Digil, the Team Lead, NHGSFP, called for strategic partnership to help the implementation of the free school feeding programme of the FG.

Digil, who was represented by Mrs Suzan Simpa, a nutritionist on the NHGSFP, said, “We need enough support to really carry on the assignment of providing free and nutritious meal for the Nigerian children.

“It cannot be over emphasised that there is need for milk in the diet of children because it is relevant for their growth, well -being and brain development.”

Digil, who noted that the Federal Government was currently feeding over 10 million school children in 35 sates and FCT, explained that only Bayelsa was not involved but had met the requirements and had been incorporated for the next cycle of feeding.

Moderating a panel discussion Amb. Ayo Olukanni, former Director Director, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) urged President Bola Tinubu-led administration to have strategic plan of action on production of milk and diary products.

In his remark, Mr Victor Adeniran, the Brand Manager, FrieslandCampina WAMCO, Nigeria Plc, maker of Three Crown Brand, said that the firm was partnering with the NHF to raise awareness about heart healthy milk and promote healthy lifestyle for Nigerians.

Adeniran said that company had been working with dairy farmers to enable efficient way of producing quality milk in the country as well as enhancing home grown production of milk.

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