NSSP participates in the HarvestPlus Nutritious Food Fair

NSSP Senior Research Assistant, Motunrayo Oyeyemi, informing fair participants of NSSP's work in Nigeria. ©IFPRI/Ian Masias

NSSP Senior Research Assistant, Motunrayo Oyeyemi, informing participants of NSSP's work in Nigeria. ©IFPRI/Ian Masias

The Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) participated in the HarvestPlus Nutritious Food Fair on November 4-5, 2015 at IITA Station in Kubwa, Abuja. The intention of the fair was to bring together stakeholders in the public and private sectors, working on market-based solutions to malnutrition, to exhibit products, showcase opportunities and discuss challenges faced by investors and marketers in delivering nutritious food to Nigerians. NSSP held a small exhibition of recent International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and NSSP publications and informed participants of IFPRI's work globally and NSSP's work in Nigeria.

HarvestPlus supports the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) to breed, test, and release vitamin A cassava developed through a partnership with the Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). HarvestPlus works with public and private sector partners to multiply vitamin A cassava stems and distribute to farmers. Their network of extension agents and rural facilitators receive training in best agronomic practices, which they pass along to farmers at the household level. Creative public awareness campaigns leverage the power of mass media, including that of Nollywood, in educating Nigerians on micronutrient deficiencies and the benefits of vitamin A cassava. They are also creating and strengthening demand by supporting commercial processing of vitamin A cassava into popularly consumed products such as gari and fufu that are marketed nationwide. Innovative strategies to promote adoption and consumption include one-stop shop models where consumers can buy vitamin A cassava stems, tubers, and ready-to-eat products such as pies, cakes, and fufu. HarvestPlus' advocacy seeks to strengthen national ownership of biofortification through effective integration into national nutrition and agricultural policies. This whole strategy will be employed from 2016 to deliver vitamin A maize to millions of Nigerians particularly targeting the middle belt where maize is a major staple.