HarvestPlus promises bio-fortified foods for 200m Nigerians by 2030
HarvestPlus Nigeria has assured that it will provide bio-fortified foods for over 200 million Nigerians in rural communities and among vulnerable people by 2030.
Country Manager of HarvestPlus, Dr Paul Ilona, disclosed this during a training session for food and agriculture journalists, at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State.
The country manager said in another 10 years, the country’s population would have increased by about 40 per cent; hence providing bio-fortfied foods to 200m people by 2030 would just be reaching 70 or 80 per cent of Nigerians.He revealed that though it was not an imposed target, but an estimation of how the firm intended to affect the feeding and nutrition pattern of Nigerians with bio-fortified foods like maize, cassava and orange-fleshed potato.
“The organisation globally, is targeting one billion people but HavestPlus Nigeria is tasking itself to reach 200million out of the number by 2030. To reach 200million persons is not a joke, the question is not around supply, farmers are producing and the deliveries of raw material to industries remain the primary challenge.
“If the railway system in Nigeria is working, it would have been a different story, our railway system is not working, the road networks are terrible and the cost of transportation is high.“By the time you move vitamin A maize from Kaduna to Lagos and the trailer is charging you N400, 000, how much is the raw materials itself. We know clearly that we have an environment that is faulty for agricultural development, but we should be able to operate notwithstanding,’’ he said.
Ilona stated that the strategies it is planning to adopt is to engage more medium and large scale food processors that will become off-takers for the millions of farmers who are cultivating bio-fortified crops.He said: “We think that if we strengthen that partnership, it is going to add a lot more value. We have identified quite a number of multinationals and national food companies in Nigeria who are bio fortified friendly. We will ensure that industries have access to bio-fortified raw materials and the products find their way to our target population.”