IITA Scales-up Training on Food Systems for Healthier Diets

Akanimo Sampson

Akanimo Sampson

In collaboration with the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation of Wageningen University and Research (WUR) under the CGIAR Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Food System for Healthier Diet Flagship (A4NHFP1), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) organised a two-day virtual master-class training programme with the theme: Food Systems for Healthier Diets.

The training focused on understanding food systems from a dietary approach, how to approach food system innovation, what to consider, and how to evaluate the desired outcomes. This ensures actions are leveraged for a healthier and sustainable diet for national development.

It had in attendance members of staff from government and non-government organizations and postgraduate students of universities and research institutions in Nigeria using group discussion, among others, as one of the training methods.

Food systems refer to the organisation of the production, processing, distribution, consumption of food, and waste disposal considering their health, socioeconomic, and environmental outcomes.

It has a crucial role in delivering high-quality diets that are not reflected in our everyday nutrition due to such factors as population growth, climate change, and urbanization.

Therefore, food systems have helped develop an integrated strategy for addressing hunger, ill health, poverty, and assuring nutrition security.

The CGIAR A4NHFP1 Country Coordinator and IITA Head of Agribusiness Unit, Adebowale Akande, says the training focused on food systems through the agrifood value chain impact pathway and associated policy required to accelerate food system innovation, scaling, and anchoring.

He further explained that the training was to unite national policymakers and stakeholders in all sectors related to agriculture, nutrition, and financing for effective policy formulation and implementation towards food security and healthier diets.

Dringe Brouwer, an Associate Professor, Division of Human Nutrition and Health at WUR who oversees the CGIAR A4NH flagship programme, Food Systems for Healthier Diets said “there is a need to look systematically at the changes in food systems and how they are related to diet transitions.

‘’The Nigeria masterclass training is very special because we focus on food systems from a nutrition point of view. So, we want to improve the food system by increasing the production of crops. But more importantly, we look at diets in terms of nutrients, diversity and also what unhealthy components are consumed.”

One of the participants, Oyo State Home Grown School Feeding Programme Coordinator, Mrs Adejoke Adewusi, promised to encourage the local production of nutritious food through off-taking of nutritious foods from local producers for the Home Grown School Feeding Programme.

Similarly, Olugbenga Sadik from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum Secretariat pledged to advocate for implementing policies sensitive to the country’s food systems challenges.

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