HarvestPlus Nigeria has promised to provide bio-fortified foods for over 200 million citizens in rural communities and malnourished vulnerable by 2030.
The Country Manager of HarvestPlus, Dr Paul Ilona, made the assertion while speaking with members of the Food and Agriculture Writers Organisation of Nigeria (FAWON) during a training session on Bio-Fortified Foods for malnourished Nigerians in Ibadan, Oyo state.
Ilona said that in another 10 years from now, Nigeria’s population would have increased by about 40 per cent hence, providing bio-fortified foods to 200 million people by 2030 would just be reaching 70 or 80 per cent of Nigerians.
According to him, this is 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 200 million out of the number by 2030.
“To reach 200 million 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 in Nigeria but we should be able to operate notwithstanding,’’ he explained.
Ilona said that the strategies the organistion planned to adopt are to engage many more medium and large scale food processors who will become off-takers for the millions of farmers who were cultivating bio-fortified crops.
Biofortification is the process of increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop, through plant breeding or agronomic practices, so that when consumed regularly will generate measurable improvement in vitamin and mineral nutritional status.
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