There are moves to ensure that agriculture and food systems support access to nutritious foods for Nigerians. Despite huge food security budgets, deficiencies in key vitamins and minerals have continued to pose a serious constraint to human health and economic development.
This has led to biofortified crops production being incorporated into national programmes for improving food production and nutrition security.
The result is the biofortification of crops such as beans, wheat, corn, sweet potato, rice, and pearl millet and enhanced nutritional content of yields like tomato, banana, sorghum, and barley.
Furthermore, the biofortification campaign is enhanced by good agronomic practices, such as soil management and fertiliser use that improves levels of micronutrients in soils.
Donors and research organisations are supporting plant breeders to develop new, productive and biofortified crop lines for farmers to grow, market and consume. On the whole, farmers and organisations are working to create a combination of fortified foods that can help reduce malnutrition.
Giving reason for the intense biofortification campaign, the Managing Director and Chief Executive, BNSL Limited, Chioma Odimegwu, explained that many children under the age of five were vitamin A deficient.
She attributed it to micronutrient deficiency, also known as hidden hunger, stemming from consuming on a day-to-day basis a diet composed mostly of starchy staples. In response to the nutritional challenge and to support the government, she said private sector organisations had joined the campaign to promote the production of biofortified vitamin crops and food products. The Nation