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food and nutrition

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Victor Ekeleme and Kalejaiye Olatundun

In Nigeria, women play a key role in food and nutrition security through their contribution to agricultural production, influencing how household income is distributed, and efforts to ensure adequate nutrition for all households.

However, malnutrition is prevalent among women and children in rural Nigeria, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and amidst the current global food crisis.

To meet this challenge and enable women farmers to improve their nutrition, CGIAR’s HarvestPlus program is deepening a long-term partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agricultural Development Program (ADP). .

(CGIAR, formerly the Advisory Group for International Agricultural Research) is a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research on food security. It aims at improving human health and nutrition and for the sustainable management of natural resources.Means).

The WIA platform has proven to be a sustainable and effective mechanism for women to provide agricultural information and technology to other women. In particular, the WIA approach helps break down religious and cultural barriers that may prevent some women from accessing knowledge and resources that improve their lives.

HarvestPlus enhances the knowledge and competencies of approximately 500 WIA female employees in several states in promoting healthy feeding practices, nutrition, and biofortified crops and foods .

As part of their work with women in the communities in which they work, officials aim to motivate female farmers and their families to produce, process, distribute and consume bio-enhanced crops and foods. Can include bio-enhanced messages and training.

WIA training in Imo State

For training in Imo State, located in the southeastern part of Nigeria, 32 WIA officers were selected from various Senate constituencies and local government areas to learn how to raise awareness of bioenhancement and newly developed bioenhancement methods. I learned how to handle processed crop-based foods, especially snacks. Free meals and traditional meals.

Elsie Emecheta leads the WIA Imo State chapter. She advocates for promoting the success and safety of smallholder farmers. Over the last few years, she has helped build collective influence to shape policy debates on issues affecting women and girls. She has also supported the nation’s mission to end hunger and malnutrition by raising awareness through her talks and trainings on nutrition and health.

She emphasized deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. These are widespread throughout the country, leading to poor physical and mental development in children and poor health in adults, especially women and lactating mothers. and campaigns to integrate into the program.

Emecheta was pleased that the training increased the team’s knowledge of the production and processing of fortified crops and foods. “Hidden hunger is a big problem. Research confirms that malnutrition is the leading cause of maternal and child illness in Nigeria today. We learn more about how to develop a final product from raw crops,” she said.

Emeketa added: [training], engaged in the enlightenment of rural women. We hope that officers will be encouraged to mainstream bioenhanced crops and foods in their messages and training with women. They will implement this knowledge in different zones and communities. I believe we are well equipped for “

WIA Training Attracts Diverse Groups

Training for WIA staff was also attended by women agricultural entrepreneurs and influencers, representatives of rural cooperatives, and NGOs involved in gender and livelihoods programmes. Emecheta said the event will highlight the important role of women in agriculture and how it will directly support women business owners in ensuring a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable food system in southeastern Nigeria. We are pleased to raise awareness of how we can play a role in

“As part of the training, women will be exposed to techniques for producing products such as snacks, complementary foods and traditional home cooking from fortified cassava and maize. About 32 women have been trained,” said Emecheta.

Emecheta and her group fostered a new entrepreneurial spirit, encouraging women to invest in growing fortified cassava and maize. She believes the opportunities provided by Harvest Plus her initiative in Imo State will help participants establish a successful influence among other women, bio-enhanced crop growers, processors and marketers. I’m sure it will help.

Olatundun Kalejaiye, Nutrition and Post-Harvest Officer at HarvestPlus, was excited to be a part of efforts to empower women to make better nutritional choices while improving their ability to generate income. This will lead to inclusive economic growth for women in Imo State.

For her, building a food-safe future begins when a woman is empowered to learn that she doesn’t have to be wealthy before she can feed her family well. Correct knowledge of nutrition and how to choose, combine and cook foods.

If one woman excels in nutrition, she can make an impact from generation to generation, including daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, and grandchildren.

Kalejaiye said: This is an opportunity to educate and sensitize them and create the needed awareness of the potential of women and children in the communities in which they live. “

CGIAR’s HarvestPlus program is focused on helping to realize the potential of agricultural development by providing gender-equal health and nutrition benefits to nutritionally vulnerable populations.

HarvestPlus is currently working with a partner in Nigeria to promote cassava, corn and orange sweet potatoes bio-fortified with vitamin A. By the end of 2021, 1.8 million small farmers were growing vitamin A cassava and 1.6 million were growing vitamin A maize.

Women are prioritized in all aspects of Harvest Plus’ work.

Victor Ekereme is a corporate communications professional based in Lagos, Nigeria. Olatundun Kalejaye is an Agriculture4Nutrition Expert, Gender Promoter and Member – Nutrition Society UK

For more information, visit the HarvestPlus website.

IPS United Nations Secretariat