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HarvestPlus empowers rural women on improved household nutrition

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
21 October 2022   |   3:46 am
In its bid to stem the tide of hunger and malnutrition in rural Nigeria, especially among women, HarvestPlus with funding and support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA),

Cassava roots

In its bid to stem the tide of hunger and malnutrition in rural Nigeria, especially among women, HarvestPlus with funding and support from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), has scaled up the production and consumption of Vitamin A Cassava and Vitamin A Maize to improve household nutrition and income in Niger and Kaduna states.

 
HarvestPlus is in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agricultural Development Programme (ADP) through the ADP’s Women in Agriculture (WIA) Extension Programme.
 
The WIA is a medium for the transfer of agriculture and nutrition-proven innovations and technologies in production, processing, marketing, consumption and nutrition to families. They disseminate agriculture and nutrition information by stepping down knowledge and skills acquired at training to the community and household levels.
 
The focus of the initiative according to HarvestPlus is on women, because of the vital role they play in the agricultural and economic development of any nation through their contribution in terms of harvesting, processing, storage, and marketing of farm produce and their influence on the allocation of household income.
 
During the training held in Niger State, which cuts across councils in the three agricultural zones, the selected WIA women were trained on biofortified food products for household and commercial uses.
 
A field day was carried out at Dagodagbe village, which is a model community for the AGRA/HarvestPlus project in Paikoro local council. It is maize and cassava-producing and consuming community. Being a model village for scaling biofortification, the field day was used to strengthen the utilisation of VAM for household nutrition and income generation to ensure all components of the value chain are in place
 
The Deputy Head of WIA at the Niger State Agricultural and Mechanisation Development Authority (NAMDA), Halima Abubakar, who coordinated the affair of the WIA women in the state, said the training is of the essence at a time when many households are struggling to put foods on their tables and women.

The Niger State Nutrition Officer (SNO) under the State Ministry of Health, Hajiya Asamau Abubakar Mohammed, who was happy to be part of the training, emphasised that addressing malnutrition is by collective efforts of many sectors, adding that she looks forward to having the WIAs building the capacity of her health team.

 
The Nutrition and Post-Harvest officer at HarvestPlus, Olatundun Kalejaiye, was also pleased to have facilitated the training to strengthen capacities on how to deliver nutrition and biofortification massages to vulnerable women.
 
Kalejaiye highlighted the aim of the training, which was to empower and equip the WIA with the knowledge to train other women on how to increase their income, as they process and sell vitamin A maize and cassava foods and also make use of the recipes at the household level to improve on the nutritional quality of their family meals.
 
The Country Manager HarvestPlus Nigeria, Dr. Yusuf Dollah enlightened the WIA women groups and other community members at the event about the relationship between not eating nutritious foods and hidden hunger.  Dr. Yusuf presented a maize planter to the community farmers to ensure adherence to good agricultural practices.