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A non-governmental organization known as the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has intensified it’s campaign on need for Nigerians to embrace biofortified crops which are more nutritious and highly essential for the growing population in order to boost the food security in the country.

While speaking with journalits during a four day training for some selected farmers and food processors in Ibadan, the senior Programme Assistant – Evidence and Action Towards Safe Nutritious Foods Programme (Eatsafe) GAIN Nigeria, Mr Martin Tajan Musa noted that the GAIN is implementing

the Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples Project (SNIPS) in Nigeria with GIZ and the Green Innovation Centre for the Agricultural and Food Sector in Nigeria, with support from the German government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

He noted that the aim of the GAIN is to ensure food and nutrition security which is one of the most pressing challenges for sustainable social and economic development in Nigeria and meeting this need presents an important opportunity for tackling malnutrition.

He said, “the training is on safe and nutritious food production and food processing for 50 women and youth-led who are basically farmers and food processors that were selected from four local government areas of Oyo state.”

Martin Tajan further said that “the participants were selected from Afijio, Oyo West, Ido and Iseyin Local Governments of Oyo State with the aim of training them on biofortified crops that are very nutritional and fortified with Vitamin A Cassava and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato and value chains. Participants were introduced to the nutritional staple crops and taught how to produce nutrient-enriched staples products such as garri, tom brown, combobites, lafun, pancake mix, and bread.”

“The training was aimed at scaling the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition intervention under the Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples (SNIPS) project being implemented in the state to ensure the availability of nutritive staple food products to end malnutrition and hidden hunger with healthier diets alternatives for consumption. The training was aimed to Introduce home processing techniques of Vitamin A Maize, Vitamin A Cassava and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato to food processors, farmers associations and cooperatives societies, especially women and youth-led MSMEs.”


“GAIN is training women and youth-led MSMEs on the incorporation of biofortified staples into traditional recipes using Vitamin A Cassava, Vitamin A Maize and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potato (OFSP) for household consumption.Demonstrate techniques to ensure food safety, reduce or even eliminate anti-nutritional factors which will enhance the consumption of nutritious diets and minimize food wastage.”

“The essence of the training is to promote zero-waste methods for biofortified foods. The training will further consolidate the efforts of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition under the Strengthening Nutrition in Priority Staples (SNIPS) to improve access and consumption of safe and nutritious foods in Oyo State in the four Local Government Areas of intervention.” Martin said.

The resources person for the training, Professor Olugbenga Ogunmoyela noted that it is the right time for Nigerians to embrace the use of biofortified crops by incorporating it into our daily food consumption. Stressing that biofortified crops are so much riched in vitamin A and other nutrients that will enhance balance diet.

He said, “we’ve been commissioned by GAIN to train our people on safe production and home processing of biofortified crops, we’ve started the issue of biofortified potatoes, maize, cassava and others for years back now, even the farmers do not sufficiently appreciate the nutritional values of these products, and because of that not many people are actually patronizing these biofortified products, there is need for people to understand how to process them for not just into flour but into different products, for example we’ve always use wheat flour for bread making and in a country where you don’t produce flour why are we not promoting bread from our own staples as it is done in other countries.”

“There is a lot to learn, because even at the home level, the people who produce Gari, Fufu, Lafun and others these are the only products think they know how to convert cassava to,.but now we are bringing these products to their knowledge the fact that there are so many different products that are so many numerous that you can make from our typical local food culture that you will be nutritious and will be produced under hygienic condition.”

“For example we are training them on how they can make use of potatoes, cassava to make moimoi, how to make use of potatoes, cassava to make bread, even at the household level people must know the value of what they have, so they can maximize the utilization and then take maximum advantage of the nutritional benefits of it ” Olugbenga said.

Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mrs Bakare Rofiayat, a food processor, from Ido Local Government who specializes in Gari Processing, Vitamin A cassava flour and OFSP, said, “We should start making use of our locally made crops which are readily available in the country, such as vitamin A Cassava, Vitamin A maize, and OFSP.”

“The the current war between the Ukraine and Russia has resulted in the increase of wheat flour this is telling us that we should start considering using our raw materials and even the nutrition values of these biofortified crops are far better than the imported materials we are importing because they’re fortified with vitamin A.” He said.

Another participants, Umar Samuel, a food processor from Oyo West Local Government, said, “we started the training with theoretical aspects of where we were trained on food safety tips, food packaging, and branding and how to ensure that our products have a healthy shelve life.”

“But during the practical session we discovered that we can make use of our own products to produce what we eat, based on the research by GAIN some of these biofortified products we have in our country are even more nutritious than the ones we are importing, this training has contributed greatly to my status, and I’m going to make good use of it to advanced our our food production.” Umaru said.

In his words, Mr Rasaq Monruf Alabi, the Director Agric Extension Services, Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture, who also doubles as the desk officer for the Snipes program in Oyo state, said “the project started in the year 2021, this is the third year of the project, we’ve gone a long way, I think the impact is already been felt by the farming communities, especially in the four local government areas where the project is being implemented in Oyo state.”

“Initially the problem we have with the variety of Vitamin A was first released because it has been replaced with the Cassava variety that are high in dry matter content and we don’t have problem with the processors, especially those that are making Gari, farmers are requesting for the new variety of vitamin A cassava, so equally farmers are also requesting for orange fleshed sweet potato. These are new set of farmers and food processors, GAIN has instructed us to select new set of people that have not in any way participated in the previous.” Rasaq said.

Some of the products produced during the training include, OFSP Moimoi, Maize moimoi, Cassava Moimoi, combobite, Cassava Akara, Cassava Bread, Cassava Cake, Cassmeat Balls, White Soup, OFSP Cookies, OFSP Chinchin, Composite Bread, Cassava Donkwa, Potatoes Donkwa, Cassdonut, OFSP Fishroll among others.

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