From Grass To Meat And Milk: Situation And Prospects In Nigeria

Victor A. Oyenuga


The need for a new world economic order has featured prominently lately in international dialogues. The materially rich nations appear to be getting richer while the poor ones, with all their efforts, could hardly emerge quickly enough from their comparative economic backwardness in a world made increasingly closer and inseparable by unprecedented technological advances in communication and transportation. The economic and material gaps between the developed and the Third World are widening rather than closing.

An important barometer, measuring the state of economic and material progress and vigour of a nation relates to the nature and quality of its people’s diet. The industrially-advanced countries of Europe and North America and others in the developed regions consume a large amount of food energy, a high proportion of which derive from proteins of animal origin. The developing nations of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, taken as a group, on the other hand, consume much lower level of food energy and an even much smaller proportion of this comes from animal sources. Within each of the countries constituting these groupings, wide variations occur (Table 3). The economically poor Americans in the U.S.A., for example, as revealed in more recent nutritional surveys, suffer from undernutrition and protein malnutrition just as the bulk of the population enjoy over-feeding with particular reference to the consumption of animal protein and animal fat, an equally important form of malnutrition. In our country, a developing nation, the bulk of the population suffer from malnutrition, while an increasing minority get grossly over-fed. In the one case, malnutrition is a major cause of child mortality and low labour productivity; in the other, a cause of premature adult death among the over-fed minority in many developing nations and the over-fed majority in the Western nations. It is debatable as to which is more disruptive to society. Both forms of malnutrition are undesirable and should be eliminated.



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