GAIN targets 250,000 farmers with safe, nutritious staple foods

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is set to improve the access of 250,000 farmers and their household to safe and nutrition strengthened staple foods such as cassava, maize, potato and rice to tackle malnutrition.

Large population of people living in rural areas, most of whom are farmers, suffer malnutrition, diarrhea from unsafe food and vitamin A deficiency due to over reliance on staple foods, hence the introduction of Strenghtening Nutrition in Priority Staples (SNIPS) project to improve their access to safe staple foods fortified with micronutrients.

GAIN senior project manager, Supply Chain for Commercialisation, Godwin Ehiabhi, told a stakeholders’ meeting at the launch the project in Kaduna that SNIPS is expected to cover 16 local government areas in four states of Benue (Gboko, Gwer east, Makurdi, Otukpo), Kaduna (Chikun, Giwa, Kajuru, Lere), Nasarawa (Awe, Doma, Kokona, Lafia) and Oyo (Afijo, Iddo, Iseyin, Oyo west).

“The five-year project, which runs 2021 to 2025 inclusive, is to improve access and consumption of safe, nutritious food by farmers in Nigeria through fortification of staple foods with micronutrients, improve workforce’s nutrition to improve the diet of workers and to support micro business farmers and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“The project covers maize value chain in Kaduna state, rice value chain in Nasarawa state, cassava and orange fleshed sweet potato value chains in Benue and Oyo states. Maize, orange fleshed sweet potato and cassava will be fortified with micronutrients, the safety and nutrients of maize and rice will be improved, while there would be business support for the four value chains.”

Also speaking, project manager, Business Support, Mercy Olorunfemi, said: “We understand hidden hunger. ,Many Nigerians lack the right vitamin, the right nutrients in their body. The project intends to strengthen their staple foods with biofortification and nutrients. We are also going to support SMEs with empowerment grant.”

Kaduna state Commissioner for Agriculture, who was represented by the Director of Produce, Bege Bungwon, said the project will have huge positive impact on agriculture in the state, adding that, “80% of citizens in Kaduna state are involved in agriculture, but Kaduna state and North west are the highest in malnutrition. The project that they want to implement will reduce malnutrition, encourage our farmers to do more and increase productivity of nutritious staples.”

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