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Vitamin A cassava as a game changer to ‘Africa’s best kept secret’

Vitamin A cassava as a game changer to ‘Africa’s best kept secret’

THE bio-fortified cassava, which is rich in vitamin A, is becoming widespread in Africa, driven by increasing awareness of its health and nutrition benefits; and the variety is changing the description of cassava – a root crop often referred to as “Africa’s best kept secret.”

Consumed by over 300 million people in Africa, cassava has been marginalised in several debates because of myths and half-truths about its nutritional value and role in farming systems. The greatest burden of the crop is the stigma of being considered an inferior, low-protein food that is uncompetitive with the glamorous crops such as imported rice and wheat.

“But the perception about cassava is changing. With vitamin A cassava, we are not talking just about a crop that is rich in starch but about a crop that has one of the vitamins that are most important for human development,” said Dr Wolfgang Pfeiffer, Deputy Director (Operations), HarvestPlus at the just concluded Crop Meeting in Abuja.

Popularly called yellow cassava, vitamin A cassava was bred by a coalition of partners, including International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI,) Umudike, and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and released in Nigeria in 2011. The first wave consisting of three varieties was disseminated to hundreds of thousands of farmers across the country.

Farmers’ adoption of the varieties is on an impressive scale and the appeal for the varieties has fuelled their spread for research trials to other African countries, including Republic of Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Ghana.

“Demand for the varieties is up and we have engaged farmers for multiplication,” Pfeiffer explained. “Our strategy is to get planting materials available to farmers so they can consume these nutritious varieties and improve their health.”

Vitamin A deficiency is a malady in Nigeria affecting about 20 percent of pregnant women and 30 percent of children under 5 years, elsewhere in Africa the statistics are no better. A lack of or a deficiency of vitamin A lowers immunity and impairs vision. This can lead to blindness and even death.

Paul Ilona, Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, estimated that about 2 billion people suffer from hidden hunger in which vitamin A is an integral part.

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Local African Companies win GE, USAID $400,000 Off-grid Energy Challenge

Local African Companies win GE, USAID $400,000 Off-grid Energy Challenge

By Ejiofor Alike

Four Nigerian companies have emerged winners of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challeng...

Local African Companies win GE, USAID $400,000 Off-grid Energy Challenge

Local African Companies win GE, USAID $400,000 Off-grid Energy Challenge

By Ejiofor Alike

Four Nigerian companies have emerged winners of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challeng...

Millicom and Kalixa create online payments processing partnership for Africa and Latin America

Millicom and Kalixa create online payments processing  partnership for Africa and Latin America

 

 

 

Stockholm, 11 September, 2014 – Millicom (Stockholmsbörsen: MIC), the

international tele...

Last Updated ( Thursday, 18 September 2014 16:10 )

Orji Uzor Kalu set to storm the market with Made-in-Nigeria Slok Mobile Phone

Orji Uzor Kalu set to storm the market with Made-in-Nigeria Slok Mobile Phone

Nigeria is about to score another goal in the area of communication technology as an indigenous company, the Slok Group, is set to roll out the first made in Nigeria mobi...

UT plans Houston energy engineering institute

UT plans Houston energy engineering institute

Jordan Blum - Reporter- Houston Business Journal

The   University of Texas   is expanding in Houston in a big way with plans for a new energy engineering institute.

The University...

Last Updated ( Monday, 25 August 2014 17:33 )

New Leaf Africa Earns Local Informed Consent for Carbon Offset Projects

New Leaf Africa Earns Local Informed Consent for Carbon Offset Projects

NLA approved programs include forest preservation, water filtration and cook stove project WASHINGTON--( BUSINESS WIRE )--New Leaf Africa (NLA) has earned “Local Informed Co...

PayPal Signs 'Tens of Thousands' Nigerians Following Launch in Africa

PayPal Signs 'Tens of Thousands' Nigerians Following Launch in Africa

Reuters,   July 23, 2014

  PayPal has signed up "tens of thousand" of Nigerians in its first week of operating in Africa's biggest economy, with consumers already purchasing ...

City of Houston First City in Texas to use Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds for Energy Efficiency Program

City of Houston First City in Texas to use Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds for Energy Efficiency Program

City of Houston expands its municipal energy efficiency program to libraries

Mayor Annise Parker today announced the City of Houston is expanding its municipal energy effi...


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