As part of its efforts to contribute to the reduction of malnutrition in Northern Nigeria, WOFAN has launched Baby-Lac, a rice and groundnut-based food preparation for malnourished children under 5 years old.
Baby-Lac is a rich combination of ready to mix portions of rice, groundnut, carrots, moringa and soya beans processed into powder and chipped forms. In the processed forms, the products combine very high levels of carbohydrates, protein, calcium, vitamins and other essential nutrients which can stem acute malnutrition in children under 5 years within days and set them on the part of rapid recovery at a very low cost.
In addition to being very cheap, Baby-Lac is also easy to prepare. In the first place, each of the main ingredients is packed in separate units of the pack to preserve their freshness. All a mother needs to do is mix all the parts with little water into a loose paste, add boiling water (and sugar to taste) and the pap (meal) is ready; it is that simple, but most effective against malnutrition. The product was developed in collaboration with some of the women groups working with WOFAN in response to the worsening malnutrition situation in Northern Nigeria. This is because, as scientists have affirmed, about 50 percent of child mortality is caused by malnutrition.
Unfortunately, in the last one year, the situation has become more desperate in the North East following years of a raging war with insurgents. According to UNICEF, an estimated 400,000 children under 5 years are at risk of acute malnutrition in just 3 states of the North East in 2016. (thisdaylive.com)
So, while working with women in Northern Nigeria, the idea of developing a food mixture derived from readily available ingredients which will offer a rich mix of essential nutrients that can combat malnourishment (from mild to acute) at affordably attractive costs came up. And after getting excellent results from months of trial, the product was presented at a UNDP-led planning meeting at WOFAN Headquarters in Kano in June, 2016.
Speaking during the presentation of the product, WOFAN’s Executive Director, Hajia Salamatu Garba noted that the organization intends to encourage the use of Baby-Lac to combat malnutrition across the country by teaching women groups how to make the ingredients so that they can use it to improve nutrition for children under 5 years and also package the product for sale to generate income.
She said, “The good thing about Baby-Lac is that it is all natural. There are no artificial preservatives or additives. And, once it is prepared under hygienic conditions, one is sure that there will be no problems or side effects from its consumption. And, with support from critical stakeholders in the nutrition sector, we are sure we can defeat the monster of malnutrition with this simple solution.”
Other products as shown above were also launched targeting adults, children, diabetic and sick people while at the same time diversifying utilization of groundnut and rice based crops being currently promoted in partnership between WOFAN, ICRISAT, CARI- a GIZ funded project and the women cooperatives that are most willing to step down their training for the benefit of all while generating new sources of income and improving the family nutrition