commercialisation of biofortified crops
15 million up for grabs from commercialisation of biofortified crops

The Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) project, launched to improve the quality of diets and tackle hidden hunger, is expected to benefit about 15 million Nigerians.

About 500 new micro and small-scale investors are expected to either produce cassava or process cassava tubers, and more than 1000 new micro and small-scale investors are expected to either produce grains or process Provitamin A (PVA) maize.

Speaking at the launch of the project in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development who was represented by the Director,  Federal Department of Agriculture,  Hajiya Karima Babangida, said there must be proper linkages among stakeholders for effective commercialisation.

Babangida who was also represented by a director in the Ministry, Dr Oyeleke Razaq reiterated the need for adequate financing, adding that the federal government in collaboration with GAIN and Harvest Plus would team up to make it get the best level.

“There are a lot of business opportunities in this and this will go along way in generating revenue”, he said.

The Country Director , Global Alliance for Alliance Nutrition (GAIN), Michael Ojo said the programme was launched in 2019 to address widespread hidden hunger in Africa and Asia by significantly expanding the reach of foods and food products made with biofortified staple crops.

Ojo explained that the three-year programme works with commercial value chain actors including seed producers, farmers, aggregators and processors to catalyse commercial markets for biofortified seeds,  grains and food products in six countries with pervasive levels of malnutrition.

He said they are working in eight states to include: Kaduna, Niger, Nasarawa, Benue, Cross River, Anambra, Osun and Oyo States.

“We have the commitment of states we are working with and we are looking forward to working with national assembly to put the right legislation in place for us, so as to reach the poorest of the poor in our society”, he said.

Also, the Country Director, Harvest Plus Nigeria Paul Ilona, while explaining that biofortified crops are not genetically modified, but to increase their density of iron, zinc, or vitamin A, said there are varieties developed by conventional means.

He said the programme is not only aimed at focusing on food security and good nutrients but for farmers to make more money from their business.

He however said the goal is strengthen demand for nutrient-rich staple foods and to improve the enabling environment for biofortified foods and food products.

However, the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on agriculture, Senator Birma Enagi, said will do its best to have more involvement with partners in producing the biofortified products.

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