Mapping Value Chains for Nutrient-Dense Foods in Nigeria

This report details the findings of an analysis of value chains for several nutrient-dense foods in Nigeria. It assesses the potential of a number of products to contribute to reducing undernutrition in Nigeria. It identifies key barriers that restrict these products’ impact and identifies options for development agencies, public–private partnerships and others to respond.

Value chain analysis has major advantages for food-based approaches to tackling undernutrition, because it highlights where particular actors, activities and markets can serve as leverage points to address barriers to nutrient-dense foods. This report is complemented by a case study of the experiences of two businesses in producing nutrient-dense products, and by an analysis of current policy and recommendations. Although this report lays out options for strengthening each of the commodities examined, the policy report makes broader recommendations on how government, donor agencies, businesses and partnerships can enhance the contribution of food markets to reducing undernutrition in Nigeria. Chronic undernutrition is a critical problem in Nigeria, with rates of stunting and underweight alarmingly high and little progress over the last decade.

There are major disparities in nutrition outcomes between the wealthy and poor, between the north and south, and between urban and rural areas. Micronutrient deficiencies are widespread across social groups. Vitamin A deficiency, for example, contributes to 25 per cent of child and maternal deaths. Drivers of undernutrition include poverty, low access to health services and behavioural factors. Exclusive breastfeeding and proper complementary feeding are very poorly practised. The magnitude of the challenge means that scaling up and improving direct nutrition interventions is an urgent priority. Food and diet-related factors also appear to play a major role, although definitive evidence is not available. In parallel to direct nutrition interventions, efforts are needed to improve the functioning of food value chains and provide access to nutrient-dense foods to the urban and rural poor.

March 1, 2014
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