Innovative Stride to Zero Hunger Beyond 2015 in Nigeria
Catherine V. Nnamani.
Overcoming food and nutritional insecurity among the elderly, pregnant women and children
under five years, remains a big challenge to human and sustainable development in many resourse-
poor communities in developing countries, where over 57% of the people go to bed hungry.
Diversification of dietary habit to include derelict plant genetic resources which are cheap, readily
available and affordable, could contribute to the daily dietary requirements of these resource poor
people. This work was initiated to explore the nutritional values of some Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS)
from Nigeria, as an innovative approach of reducing food and nutrition insecurity in this country. Multidimensional
Analysis (MDA) for decision making tool was used to pool the desirable nutrients in each of these species and rank them.
These were then compared with Lactuca sativa var. longifolia L (exotic). Results from these analyses showed that these
NUS are endowed with appreciable levels of nutrients. MDA showed that S. occidentalis ranked 1st with a WF of (4.16),
followed by T. occidentals 2nd with WF of (3.75) when all desirable nutrient values of high moisture, carbohydrate, protein
content, low fat and better energy calorie (kcal) nutrients were pooled together amongst these species. It implies that
these NUS could contribute to the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) for micronutrient as recommended
US8053007B2 and could help in reducing malnutrition as entrenched in the Millennium Development Goal
(MDGs). There is a need for expanded policy programmes for sustainable enlightenment on their nutritional benefits in
order to promote their selection as part of cooked food, cultivation and green job creation.
Keywords: Malnutrition, neglected and underutilized species, Nigeria, reduction, resilience.
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