The Gombe State Government through the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) has begun the training of 100 youth and women in suplementary food processing.
The Commissioner for STI, Dr Aisha Maigari stated this at the inauguration of the exercise on Thursday in Gombe.
She said the training exercise was part of comprehensive effort designed to reduce the burden of malnutrition in the state.
She said the ministry had trained 300 women on how to process local variety crops to produce balanced diet and complementary food for children in the past two years.
According to her, Gov. Inuwa Yahaya in 2021 approved the production of 120,000 sachets of 100 grammes complementary food for free distribution to deserving families across the state.
Maigari said that over 2,000 children benefitted from the exercise meant to improve their nutritional status.
The Commissioner noted that the complementary food produced in the state had been registered by the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), adding that the product had been suitable in tackling acute malnutrition.
The ministry, she said, was also sensitising women and other stakeholders on how to utilise local food items to improve nutrition of their children.
According to Maigari, the state government is working in collabiration with development partners to encourage production of complementary food in commercial quantity.
In her remarks, Wife of the Governor, Asma’u Yahaya said the state government accorded pririoty towards improving healthcare services and wellbeing of children.
Represented by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Naomi Awak, Yahaya said the production of complementary food was key to addressing malnutrition.
Also speaking, Chairman, Gombe State Advocacy Working Group on Nutrition, Malam Alhassan Yahya lauded the gesture, adding that it would address malnutrition in the state.
Yahya noted that malnutrition denied many children the ability to enjoy a healthy living, hence the need strengthen effort at addressing the menace.
“This is to ensure that our children grow well with the right intelligence quotient to contribute to the development of the state,” he said.
He said it was imperative to devise alternative means to fight malnutrition by ensuring adequate provision of nutrients to children whose parents could not afford exorbitant prices of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUF).
For her part, Mrs Deborah Obise, Senior Intervention Lead, Food Processing and Value Addition, Mercy Corps Nigeria (MCN), urged the state government to encourage mass production of complementary food to boost its revenue base.
She reitrated commitment of the organisation to support government towards improving protection and wellbeing of children in the country.