The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has held a one day Sensitization Workshop on Biofortified Crops and its various products to promote the consumption of nutritious and safe foods in Nigeria. The key objectives of the sensitization workshop include promoting behavioural change through strategic communication and knowledge sharing and targeted at households in Nigeria, about eating right and safe; and providing additional sources of income for improved livelihood for Nigerians especially women.
The workshop with a strong focus on adding nutritional value to food was held in collaboration with the International Potato Centre; International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA); HarvestPlus and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). At the sensitization event, locally grown crop varieties including the Vitamin ‘A’ Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes (OFSP), Yellow Cassava, Orange Maize and various products were exhibited. These locally and naturally groomed new varieties of crops are rich in essential minerals and vitamins with high nutritional content.
Speaking at the event, Special Guest of Honour – Hon. Minister – Chief Audu Ogbeh, represented by the Hon. Minister of State – Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri stated: ‘I am very happy to be part of these efforts aimed at reducing malnutrition in Nigeria. We are working in collaboration with other agencies to achieve this aim. We need to change our eating habits and eat more of what is freshly made here in Nigeria. It is in our best interest to avoid eating poison.’
Sharing their success stories, a farmer who has multiplied and sold the Orange Flesh Sweet Potatoes (OFSP) said that last year alone, she sold OFSP vines and roots of over N8million and another over 1Million Naira in the dry season this year with increasing demands which she was yet to meet. Speaking on behalf of ICRISAT, the Representative told the gathering that in collaboration with the Institute of Agriculture, Zaria, ICRISAT had developed new varieties of nutritionally enriched sorghum with high Iron and Zinc content. The Hon. Minister of State – Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri on was taken on tour of the exhibition stands of nutritionally enriched crops and various products made from them as part of the sensitization exercise, which was well attended and covered by members of the Press. The programme was coordinated and supervised by the Senior Advisor on Food Security and Nutrition, Office of the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.