WASHINGTON DC, August 5 (IPS) – In Nigeria, women play an important role in food security and nutrition through their contributions to agricultural production, their influence on how income is households and their efforts to ensure proper nutrition for all household members.
However, undernutrition remains widespread among rural women and children in Nigeria, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic and in the context of the current global food crisis.
To help meet this challenge and empower women farmers to improve nutrition, CGIAR’s HarvestPlus program is deepening its longstanding partnership with Ministry of Agriculture and Rural DevelopmentADP’s Agricultural Development Program (ADP) — specifically through the ADP Women in Agriculture Extension Program (WIA).
(CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) is a global partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research on food security. CGIAR research aims to reduce poverty. in rural areas, enhancing food security, improving human health and nutrition, and sustainably managing natural resources).
The WIA platform has proven to be a sustainable and effective mechanism for women to reach out to other women with agricultural information and technology. Notably, the WIA . approach help overcome religious and cultural barriers that may prevent some women from accessing life-improving knowledge and resources.
HarvestPlus is strengthening the knowledge and capacity of approximately 500 WIA women officers in several states in promoting healthy feeding practices, nutrition, and promoting biofortified crops and foods. learn.
Officers will then be able to deliver messages and training on biofiltration as part of their activities with women in the communities where they work, with the aim of promoting women farmers and families. Their families produce, process, distribute and consume biofortified crops and foods.
WIA Training in Imo . State
At the training courses in Imo State, located in Southeast Nigeria, 32 WIA officers were selected from different court districts and local government areas to learn how to raise awareness about the filtration system. biology and preparation of some newly developed biofortified crop-based foods, especially snacks, complimentary foods and traditional meals.
Elsie Emecheta hosts WIA Imo state. She is an advocate for promoting the success and security of smallholder farmers. Over the last few years, she has helped to exert collective influence to shape policy debates on issues affecting women and girls; She has also supported the national mission to end hunger and malnutrition by raising awareness through nutrition health talks and training.
She stated that deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients are widespread across the country and have led to a decline in the physical and mental development of children and the health of adults, especially women and lactating mothers. Emecheta has also campaigned to mainstream gender issues into agricultural policies and programmes.
Emecheta is delighted that the training has broadened her team’s knowledge of the production and processing of biofortified foods and crops. “Hidden hunger is a big problem. In present-day Nigeria, research has confirmed that undernutrition is a major cause of morbidity in mothers and children. We are here to learn more about biofiltration and how to grow finished products from these nutrient-rich crops,” she said.
Emecheta added: “Hereafter, we will participate in the enlightenment of women in rural areas. We hope that officers will be inspired to use biofortified crops and foods in their message and training with women. We believe they will be well equipped to implement this knowledge in their various regions and communities. “
WIA training courses appeal to different groups
Training for WIA staff also engages women in agriculture and influencers, representatives of rural cooperatives and from a number of NGOs to participate in gender and gender programs. Livelihoods. Emecheta is delighted that the event has raised awareness of the important role women play in agriculture and directly supports how female business owners can play a role in ensuring a global food system. more representative, flexible and sustainable in Southeast Nigeria.
“As part of the training, the women will be exposed to technologies that produce products such as snacks, dietary supplements and traditional family meals from biofortified maize and cassava. learn. We have introduced them to process products for business and home consumption. We have about 32 women doing the training,” said Emecheta.
Emecheta and her team have developed a new entrepreneurial spirit that drives women to invest in nutrient-fortified corn and cassava. She strongly believes that the opportunities offered by the HarvestPlus initiative in Imo State will help the participants become positive influencers for other women, crop farmers, processors. and successful marketers get bio-enhanced.
Olatundun Kalejaiye, Nutrition and Post-Harvest Officer at HarvestPlus, is excited to be involved in efforts to ensure women can make better nutritional choices while improving their income generation because of this. This will lead to inclusive economic growth for women in Imo State.
For her, building a food-secure future begins when a woman is empowered to know she doesn’t have to be rich before her family can be well-fed. What women need is the right knowledge of nutrition and how to choose foods, how to combine them and how to prepare them.
If a woman has smart nutrition, she can influence her daughter, daughter-in-law, niece, grandchild and more, from generation to generation.
“We have women who have come to this training with no idea what biofiltration is,” says Kalejaiye. This is an opportunity to educate, sensitize them and create the necessary awareness of the potential of women and children in the communities where they live. “
CGIAR’s HarvestPlus program is focused on helping realize the potential of agriculture by delivering gender-equal health and nutrition benefits to nutritionally vulnerable populations.
HarvestPlus is currently working with Nigerian partners to promote vitamin A-fortified cassava, maize and orange sweet potatoes. By the end of 2021, 1.8 million smallholder households will grow vitamin A-containing cassava and 1.6 million family growing vitamin A corn.
Women are the primary contributors to all aspects of HarvestPlus’ work.
Victor Ekeleme is a Corporate Communications Specialist based in Lagos, Nigeria and Olatundun Kalejaiye is an Agricultural Specialist4N Nutrition, Gender Promoter, Member – British Dietetic Association
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