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‘1m farmers grow bio-fortified crops in Nigeria‘

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‘1m farmers grow bio-fortified crops in Nigeria‘

Over one million small holder farmers grow bio-fortified food crops in Nigeria, Country Manager of Harvest plus, an international agriculture organisation, Dr Paul Ilona, has said.
He disclosed this in Ibadan Oyo State during an interview with journalists.

He said that six million people consumed more nutritious foods from bio-fortified crops in the country through the efforts of Harvestplus to address malnutrition.
“Our On-farm yield increases from bio-fortified crops estimated at 20 per cent over local varieties, over 8,000 persons are estimated to be employed directly or indirectly by investors in the bio-fortified sector,” he said.

“We trained over 200 extension agents now, continuously rolling out trainings on good agricultural practices and quality processing of bio-fortified products.
“We were able to include bio-fortification into four key policy documents of the Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Budget and National Planning aimed at creating enabling environment for investors.
“Also, bio-fortification was included in budgets of federal and four state governments; over 20 international and local NGOs are mainstreaming bio-fortification into their livelihood programmes.

Ilona said that the inclusion of bio-fortified foods into the Home-Grown School Feeding Programme (HGSFP) of the government was one of its latest achievements.
According to him, Harvestplus developed and released six varieties of vitamin A cassava in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the National Root Crop Research Institute in Umudike.
He said that Harvestplus also developed and released eight varieties of vitamin A maize in partnership with IITA and the Institute for Agricultural Research, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.

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