EatSafe Launches the Association for Promotion of Food Safety and Improved Nutrition (APFSAN) in Nigeria
In Nigeria, food safety is a pressing issue — in 2019, 20% of surveyed Nigerians experienced serious harm from food and water, leading to illnesses, malnutrition, stunting in children and even death. In 2018, it was estimated that more than 200,000 Nigerians died of food poisoning due to contaminated foods. Evidence and Action Towards Safe, Nutritious Food (EatSafe) focuses on increasing consumer demand for safe food in traditional markets, where hundreds of thousands of Nigerians source their food every day. Food safety is a shared responsibility. The Association for Promotion of Food Safety and Improved Nutrition (APFSAN), in the context of other EatSafe interventions, brings together multiple stakeholders, including farmers, vendors, consumers, market actors, private sector, research and academia, professional associations, civil, faith and community-based organizations and governing representatives to sustainably support a collective goal of safer food in traditional markets.
Recently, EatSafe launched APFSAN, a national association currently active in two states of Nigeria. The launch of APFSAN took place on the 8th of September and on the 15th of September in the Kebbi and Sokoto States, respectively. There were over 250 people in attendance in the Kebbi and Sokoto States. The association was launched in Kebbi State by Mr. Joel Aiki, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and in Sokoto State by the wife of the Sokoto state governor, Hajiya Mariya Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was represented by Dr. Kulu Abubakar, the honorable commissioner of the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Based on progress made on national food safety policy and legislation, APFSAN supports the building of an enabling environment to improve and promote positive food safety outcomes in traditional food markets in Nigeria. The aim/objectives of the association are to:
- Promote, educate, sensitize and create awareness on food safety in traditional markets in Kebbi and Sokoto States.
- Encourage and improve the demand for and consumption of safe and nutritious foods among consumers in Kebbi and Sokoto States.
- Organize and execute programs, workshops and seminars on food safety among farmers, food vendors and other actors in the food value chain.
- Partner with government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs); nongovernmental organizations; corporate entities; and national, regional and international bodies, including the United Nations and its agencies, for the advancement of the objectives of the organization.
After the launch events, the election of the State Management Team (SMT) took place, and five positions were filled: state coordinator, deputy state coordinator, secretary, financial secretary and publicity secretary. Following the launch, APFSAN will continue membership drive and work planning for activities to be conducted in the next 12 months. As part of these efforts, the alliance will support and promote the other three food safety interventions being tested and implemented by EatSafe. For example, APFSAN participated in the launch of the Safe Food Stand at the Birnin Kebbi Central Market on the 9th of September by Hajiya Aisha Usman, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning and chairperson of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition.
In the next few months, EatSafe will continue to roll out additional food safety interventions that complement APFSAN, including: a radio show on VisionFM, a Safe Food Brand Initiative (“Abinci Pes-Pes” in Hausa) and the aforementioned Safe Food Stand in two target markets — all of which will be tested for feasibility, scalability and effectiveness. Stakeholder engagement is key to the success of EatSafe’s interventions in Nigeria. Beyond these market spaces, APFSAN will be instrumental in ensuring EatSafe’s primary goal — increasing knowledge and awareness around the importance of food safety — becomes a shared objective that the community adopts and works together on, after the program ends in 2024.
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This blog was made possible through support provided by Feed the Future through USAID, under the terms of Agreement #7200AA19CA00010. The opinions expressed herein are those of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the U.S. government.