NGO trains 1.2m farmers on vitamin A cassava production


 Harvestplus Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), said it had trained more than 1.2 million farmers in parts of the country in vitamin A cassava production.
The Country Manager of the organisation, Dr Paul Ilona, said this in an interview in Ibadan, said farmers reached cut across 24 states, including Benue, Abia, Ondo, CrossRiver, Imo and Oyo.
He said the organisation had also trained commercial farmers on how to make profit through agriculture, especially in vitamin A cassava production.
``We started by distributing free vitamin A cassava stem packs; most farmers who received the packs are making it now; youths too are engaging in it.
``The farmers, who received the stems also distributed same to others, thereby assisting us to reach more farmers. Through our delivery strategies, we have made impacts in the lives of the rural people.
``Our target is to ensure that every farmer who deserves to plant more nutritious varieties such as vitamin A cassava have access to them.
``We are also linking them to sources of inputs and creating value for their products. We do not have any farmer today who planted vitamin A cassava without having market,” Ilona said.
He said some youths and women were recently engaged in vitamin A cassava production, adding that the organisation had been working to reach out to farmers in the other value chains.
``In Benue, Imo, Oyo and Ondo state, we have women currently producing cassava confectionery called combobits with different nutrients.
``Combobits is one of the products we are proposing to include into the home grown school programme of the government; we have other products such as cassava custard, fufu and others.
``The confectionary sector is very active, yielding a lot of money; the vitamin A garri sector is on the high demand now.
``The demand is so huge that we have to encourage more investors to come on board, we will ensure supply of raw materials to producers to keep investment in the sector grow.’’
Ilona stressed the need for Nigerians to eat more nutritious food for good health and urged the government and the private sector to support farmers to produce more.
“There is need for Nigerians to come together and brainstorm on how to invest in agriculture, which has huge potentials to save us from poverty,” he said. 

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