The Federal Government in conjunction with HarvestPlus, a firm that coordinates Nigeria’s staple crop biofortification programme, have scaled up learning both at the federal and state levels to boost the adoption of biofortified crops.
Partners in the programme said the move was part of efforts to achieve food and nutrition security across the country, as they explained that biofortified crops would enhance Nigeria’s food production.
Speaking at a consultative policy workshop on climate-smart agriculture and biofortification, organised in Abuja by HarvestPlus, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, and the International Food Policy Research Institute, the Country Manager, HarvestPlus, Yusuf Dollar, said the use of biofortified crops should be deepened in Nigeria.
He explained that the consultative meeting was to further deepen the understanding of biofortification at the state level, such that policymakers could make informed policies that would improve the uptake of biofortified crops.
“There is a need to bring together the new commissioners and permanent secretaries at the state level for them to learn so that when they get to their states they can implement the strategies, as well as create an enabling environment for the biofortified crops.
“When promoting value chains there is a need to work closely with the state government. We have found out that usually the governors do not know about the programmes and this is because the technocrats working with them do not have adequate information to brief their governors,” he stated.
Dollar explained that HavestPlus complements existing nutrition initiatives using biofortified staple crops, noting that these crops were made of high-level micronutrients and vitamins.
“So as farmers grow and consume these crops, they will have access to these micronutrients, which are required by the body to live a healthy life,” he stated.
He outlined the staple crops to include maize, millet, cassava, potato and rice, adding that the technology was the most cost-effective that could be taken to vulnerable groups in various communities.