Eruwa Community Applauds HarvestPlus For Vit.A Cassava Initiative
THE Monarch of Okolo village in Eruwa area of Oyo State, Pa David Olasunkanmi, and his subjects have expressed satisfaction in the introduction of Vitamin A cassava by HarvestPlus and the transformation in the livelihood of the rural farmers.
Pa Olasunkanmi made the remarks when they hosted HarvestPlus’s Global Director, Product Development and Commercialisation, Wolfgang Pfeiffer, the Nigerian team led by Country Manager, Paul Ilona, and Coordinator of Senator Adeyemo Women Empowerment Scheme (SAWEC), Mrs. Bola Adeyemo, a HarvestPlus partner, in his palace.
Pfeiffer, who is in Nigeria on a working visit, was in Eruwa to inspect ongoing activities of HarvestPlus and partners with regard to the delivery of vitamin A cassava, using a model village concept, which links all the components of Vitamin A cassava value chain.
He thanked the villagers for their warm reception and promised that HarvestPlus is committed to developing crops that are healthier and more nutritious, which also address micronutrient deficiencies in meals.
Pfeiffer wants farmers and investors linked to the program in order to make good profit from their investments, which was why the organisation is building linkages to promote their businesses, as a way of reaching more vulnerable targets in rural and urban settings.
HarvestPlus Nigeria Country Manager, Paul Ilona, said, “HarvestPlus Nigeria works closely with 20 partners in four target states of Oyo, Benue, Imo and Akwa-Ibom and 22 expansion states to address challenges along the Vitamin A cassava value chain. The model village concept is one that links all operators of the value chain – from producers of Vitamin A cassava to processors, to bulking agents, to marketers and to the final consumer.”
Mrs. Adeyemo explained the choice of Okolo as one of her model villages under HarvestPlus’s Vitamin A cassava delivery program. She said the market women used to display their Garri under a dangerous electric powerline, but her NGO stepped in to assist the rural women and their families with varieties of Vitamin A cassava stems.
The assistance runs from planting season and monitored to harvest time, when she returned to train them on how to add value to their harvested tubers and sell excess of their processed food products under the country office’s guidance.
Highlights of Pfeiffer’s visit to Eruwa include; a stop-over at SAWEC Farmers’ Training & Empowerment Centre, which currently has a Gari and Fufu Processing Unit, proposed staff office block and an AgroShop outlet, which will be linked to the online shop, for sales of Vitamin A cassava products and other farm inputs.