Nigeria: Women Play a Key Role in Food & Nutrition Security in Nigeria

Washington DC — In Nigeria, ladies play key roles in meals and vitamin safety by way of their contributions to agricultural manufacturing, their affect on allocate family revenue, and their efforts to make sure correct vitamin for all family members.

However, malnutrition stays widespread amongst rural ladies and kids in Nigeria, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic and amid the present world meals disaster.

To assist meet this problem and empower farming ladies to enhance vitamin, the CGIAR’s HarvestPlus program is deepening its longstanding partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Agricultural Development Program (ADP)–specifically, by way of the ADP’s Women in Agriculture (WIA) Extension Program.

(CGIAR (previously the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) is a worldwide partnership that unites worldwide organizations engaged in analysis about meals safety. CGIAR analysis goals to scale back rural poverty, improve meals safety, enhance human well being and vitamin, and sustainable administration of pure assets).

The WIA platform has confirmed to be a sustainable and efficient mechanism for ladies to succeed in out to different ladies with agricultural info and applied sciences. Notably, the WIA strategy helps break by way of spiritual and cultural obstacles that will stop some ladies from getting access to life-improving data and assets.

HarvestPlus is strengthening the data and capability of about 500 WIA ladies officers in a number of states on the promotion of wholesome feeding practices, vitamin, and promotion of biofortified crops and meals.

The officers will then be capable of embody biofortification messages and trainings as a part of their actions with ladies within the communities the place they work, with the intention of motivating ladies farmers and their households to supply, course of, distribute, and devour biofortified crops and meals.

WIA coaching in Imo state

At trainings in Imo state, situated in South East Nigeria, 32 WIA officers had been chosen from totally different senatorial districts and native authorities areas to learn to create consciousness about biofortification, and course of some newly developed biofortified crop-based meals, particularly snacks, complimentary meals and conventional meals.

Elsie Emecheta leads the WIA Imo state chapter. She is an advocate for fostering the success and safety of smallholder farmers. Within the previous few years, she has helped strengthen collective affect to form coverage debates on points that have an effect on ladies and ladies; she has additionally supported the nationwide mission to finish starvation and malnutrition by elevating consciousness by way of vitamin well being talks and coaching.

She has highlighted deficiencies in nutritional vitamins, minerals, and different micro-nutrients, that are extensively prevalent throughout the nation and have led to the decline within the bodily and psychological growth of kids, and sick well being amongst adults, particularly ladies and lactating moms. Emecheta additionally has campaigned to combine gender points in agricultural insurance policies and applications.

Emecheta was happy that the coaching was increasing her workforce’s data of biofortified crop and meals manufacturing and processing. “Hidden starvation is an enormous drawback. In at the moment’s Nigeria, it has been confirmed by way of analysis that malnutrition is the primary reason behind maternal and little one sickness. We are right here to study extra about biofortification and develop completed merchandise from these nutrient-enriched crops,” she mentioned.

Emecheta added: “Following this [training], we will likely be concerned in enlightening ladies in rural areas. We are hoping that the officers will likely be impressed to mainstream biofortified crops and meals of their messaging and coaching with ladies. We imagine they are going to be well-equipped to implement this data of their varied zones and communities.”

WIA trainings appeal to numerous group

The coaching for WIA officers additionally drew ladies agri-preneurs and influencers, representatives of rural cooperatives, and from some NGOs engaged in gender and livelihood applications. Emecheta was blissful the occasion has raised consciousness in regards to the essential position of ladies in agriculture and the way direct assist for feminine enterprise homeowners will play a job in guaranteeing a extra inclusive, resilient, and sustainable meals system within the South East of Nigeria.

“As a part of the coaching, the ladies will likely be uncovered to the applied sciences for producing merchandise akin to snacks, complementary meals, and conventional family meals from biofortified cassava, and maize. We have launched them to processing the merchandise for enterprise and residential consumption. We have about 32 ladies present process the coaching,” mentioned Emecheta.

Emecheta and her group have developed a new-found entrepreneurial spirit, spurring ladies to put money into biofortified cassava and maize cultivation. She could be very assured that the alternatives afforded by the HarvestPlus initiative in Imo state will assist the members set up themselves as optimistic influencers of different ladies, profitable biofortified crop farmers, processors, and entrepreneurs.

Olatundun Kalejaiye, Nutrition and Post-Harvest Officer at HarvestPlus, was excited to be a part of the efforts to make sure ladies could make higher vitamin selections whereas additionally bettering their revenue technology skills as this may result in inclusive financial development for ladies in Imo state.

For her, constructing a food-secure future begins when one girl is empowered to know that she would not must be rich earlier than her household might be effectively nourished. What ladies want is the correct data of vitamin and the way to decide on their meals, mix them and put together them.