A non-governmental organisation (NGO) leading the effort to improve nutrition and public health by developing staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals, HarvestPlus, has embarked on an awareness campaign on Vitamin A Maize Harvest in Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at a media briefing, the HarvestPlus country manager, Yusuf Dollah, said that HarvestPlus carries out activities along the seed vain chain to strengthen access to seed varieties by farmers.
Dollah said, “It is our mission to develop and scale up the delivery of nutritious crops around the world, so that every child, woman, and man who needs them can have access.
“We work with diverse partners in more than 40 countries as part of the CGIAR Research Program on agriculture for Nutrition and Health.
“Our vision is a world-free of hidden hunger. We believe hidden hunger can be solved by actively increasing the level of micronutrients in the diets of those who are deficient.”
He stated that at the beginning of 2021 wet season, over 9,000MT of vitamin A Maize seed was produced and distributed throughout the country by over 20 seed companies.
According to him, the Vitamin A Maize variety which matures within 80 days of planting to harvest, is at the moment being harvested from various agro regions of Nigeria.
“We called for this media parley, to create awareness and to stimulate markets for the varieties so that, the value chain can be sustained,” he added.
For his part, the Head of Nutrition and Food Safety, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Rasaq Oyeleke, said the Ministry has the mandate of crafting policies in promoting agriculture in Nigeria.
He said with the collaboration of the Ministry and other development organisations like HarvestPlus last year, the country recorded a bumper harvest of not just ordinary maize but maize fortified with Vitamin A, adding that the Ministey will continue to promote the policies.
“There are lot of investments in Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and FMARD is championing the need to expand the technology innovation to farmers and other users of agric services to improve extension services,” Oyeleke added.
Also speaking, the president of Maize Association of Nigeria (MAAN), Bello Abubakar, said that food security is the number one priority anywhere in the world, hence it was good to promote anything about food security.