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A Nutritionist and Dietician, Dr. Folake Samuel, says there is need for low-income earners to consume more fruits and vegetables as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Samuel, also the Local Principal Investigator, Department of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Ibadan (UI), made the assertions at the Stakeholders’ Meeting FVN-Project held at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the findings from Fruits and Vegetables Intake Vietnam and Nigeria were presented at the Stakeholders’ Meeting FVN-Project.

The project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates, was done by UI, in collaboration with other institutions globally.

Research finding has linked eating 400 grams of five varieties of fruits and vegetables to meeting nutrition requirements for good health as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for low-income earners.

According to Samuel, the objective of the project was to ensure that fruits and vegetables are well consumed, especially among the low-income urban population.

She said that the four years project from 2019 till date was carried out at Abaeja and Badagaje in Akinyele Local Government area of Oyo State.

The expert noted that the stakeholders’ engagement was to also look for ways to scale up the project.

“The most important finding was that when we worked with fruits and vegetable sellers, they were able to improve their sales and it is also means that people were eating more fruits and vegetables.

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“The coupon intervention, which provided some safety net for the low-income populace to buy fruits and vegetables, was successful, as well as promotional campaigns for people to understand the benefits of fruits and vegetables,” Samuel said.

She noted the co-creation approach employed through the community participatory method enhanced the success of the project.

In an interview, Dr Debo Akande, the Special Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State on Agribusiness, said that data on nutrition in Nigeria showed that quality of people was consuming less nutrition leading to malnutrition.

Akande said that the project had created a system for awareness and provided empirical evidence on the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables, as well as how to bring the intervention to the grassroots.

“It is a project that every state should look at how it will be domesticated and scale up as part of the intervention. The Oyo State Government will look into domesticating these as well,” he said.

One of the individuals, who benefited from the project, Emmanuel Oyetunji, said the project had helped to increase their fruits and vegetables intake and reorientated the community members on its significance.

Also, Dr Oluyemisi Shittu, the Co-principal Investigator of the project, said it was important that people consume 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily.

Shittu noted that the research was to contextualise what 400 grams means to average Nigerians since there was a lack of standardisation.

“Taking sufficient quantity of fruits and vegetables is very important and also supporting our vendors to be able to sell and attract consumers to these quantities of fruits and vegetables is also very important,” she said.

Another researcher, Godwin Bamsa, said Nigerians should eat sufficient varieties of all the fruits and vegetables available in the country.

“WHO has said we should eat at least 400 grams of fruits and vegetables every day. You can do this by eating around five portions of 80 grams, but we are not eating as much as we should.

“The advantages are numerous to individuals,” Bamsa said.

He noted that the project had addressed the issues of acceptability, affordability and awareness which the interventions proffer solutions to. (NAN)