Gov Otu unveils state policy on food and nutrition, strategic multi-sector plan of action

The Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Otu has unveiled the State’s Policy on Food and Nutrition, as well as its strategic multi-sector plan of action,.


The launch event took place at the Metropolitan Hotel in Calabar, the state capital, on Thursday.


Gov. Bassey Otu, who was represented by his deputy, Hon. Peter Odey, presided over the ceremony along with representatives from UNICEF and leadership of the State Planning Commission.



In his address at the event, Governor Otu emphasised that his government is committed to improving the health and well-being of its people.



He highlighted the set target to become a state with healthier people by 2027 through investments in food and nutrition programs.



He also acknowledged how poor planning, coordination, and implementation can lead to malnutrition stemming from various deprivations such as education, access to potable water, and poor health services among others which have short- and long-term consequences that hinder economic progress.



He disclosed that to meet the proposed target by 2027 effectively; will require scaling up food and nutrition interventions within Cross River State which the State has provided a matching fund of N100 million for interventions.


Governor Otu further stated that the State Planning Commission chaired by himself alongside Dr Bong Duke as Vice Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer, will drive coordination efforts stipulated under the newly launched state policies towards achieving better nutritional indices across the board.


He expressed gratitude to development partners who are partnering with Cross River State towards improving nutritional indices while acknowledging UNICEF’s support in particular regarding this policy launch.


Dr Olusoji Akinleye, Officer-in-Charge at UNICEF Nigeria Enugu Field Office revealed during his remarks that estimates show about 195,227 (23%) children below age five suffer acute malnutrition which is extremely dangerous and half of child mortality is attributable to malnutrition; however, he was confident that the new policies would provide an overarching framework covering multiple dimensions aimed at improving nutritional status across all vulnerable groups including adolescents, women of reproductive age, elderly, etc by year-end 2025 in line with the Governor’s mandate targeting making Cross River one healthy state come 2027.


Also speaking, Dr. Bong Duke, Vice Chairman/CEO of the State Planning Commission, explained how the multi-sector approach, where line MDAs implementing either nutrition-sensitive or specific programs were involved in solving problems around malnourishment.


He said improved nutritional standards throughout life cycles targeted majorly, the vulnerable groups, including children of aged less than five years old, adolescents, women between reproductive ages and the elderly.


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