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Stakeholders collaborate to boost local food production, empower 54,000 with seeds

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With Nigeria shutting its borders to stem importation and scale up local food production, the Ministries of Budget and Economic Planning, Agriculture, Health, and Helen Keller International (HKI), among others have partnered on a project to boost food security.
 
According to the organisations, the ‘Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle Project’, a three-year project ending December 2020, was positioned to equip over 6,000 pupils between the ages of six and 12, and teachers across nine primary schools in Lagos.

Participants would receive appropriate knowledge on food production, nutrition, and healthy lifestyle practices, and would be empowered with seeds to be planted in the school gardens and in their respective gardens at home.

Speaking at the Annual Harvest Fair and Cooking Competition, organised by HKI in Lagos, to showcase food crops harvested by the students from their gardens, the State Team Lead, HKI Lagos, Ridwan Awusanya, said the programme would also equip 48,000 people from different communities in Lagos.

He said: “The harvest fair is about school gardening produce and the programme supports local production of food.

About five months ago, we got about 100 volunteers from among the parents forum that would have home gardens themselves and act as change agents in their various Community Development Associations (CDAs).
 
“They would go from house to house, preaching the gospel of home gardening and adequate nutrition. We have empowered them with seeds to plant at homes, and in the next two months, we are expecting massive harvests from the various communities.
 
“We are making sure that every student in the schools knows how to plant and we have plans to scale this up to secondary schools in our next face. We are currently working with Ikeja Local Government Area, Onigbongbo CDA, and Ojodu CDA.”

In her remarks, Food Fortification Programme Coordinator, HKI, Faith Ishaya, said beyond showcasing the food that the students planted and harvested, parents are educated on the importance of food production.

She noted that although the students are still planting and harvesting food in small scale, it will serve as another source of income and reduce spending in the home.
 
“If you have a small garden at home, you could harvest from it and feed your family and it reduces the stress of going to the market to buy some of those things.


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