The United States Soy (U.S. SOY) organisation has described the high rate of protein deficiency in Nigeria as a national pandemic and a huge drain on country’s human capital.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), more than 59 million Nigerians are macronutrient deficient and about 45 per cent of deaths among children under the age of five are linked to malnutrition.

Research has revealed that protein is a basic nutrient needed for the development, upkeep, and repair of body cells. Protein deficiency in Nigeria poses not only a major health burden but also stunting, mental hindrance (especially in infants), surliness, and crankiness.

While expressing worry at the fourth Soy Excellence Centre (SEC) Advisory Council Meeting, which held in Lagos recently, Dr. Michael David, U.S. SOY Country Representative for Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa lamented the low protein consumption across Nigeria with a protein per capita daily intake lower than global standard.

According to him to overcome this challenge, the Nigerian government has the leading role to play but the private sector like U.S. SOY also play a critical role in ensuring that Nigeria overcomes the lingering problem of protein deficiency.

He added that part of what the U.S. SOY organisation is doing in Nigeria to help address the problem is the establishment of the Nigeria Soy Excellence Centre (SEC) which is a workforce training and capacity building program to help drive efficiency in the Soy value chain- poultry, aquaculture, human consumption etc.

At present, SEC provides training and capacity building in poultry production, feed milling, agronomy, and aquaculture.

Dr. David added that the centre trains key practitioners who will in turn take the knowledge back to their organizations to improve efficiency and achieve better productivity.

Efficiency in the value chain will result in farmers producing at lower cost, stabilize prices, and improve access to protein.

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