The International Funds for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through its Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has integrated nutrition into its programme to check malnutrition among rural dwellers.
The National Consultant, VCDP on Nutrition, Dr Omo Ohiokpehai disclosed this during a Train the Trainers workshop on `Mainstreaming Nutrition into IFAD-VCDP’, held in Jalingo.
Ohiokpehai said IFAD saw the need to integrate nutrition into for rice and cassava because of the health benefits of taking adequate and balanced nutrition into lives of the people.
The consultant decried low knowledge on good nutrition among people living in rural areas adding that it called for serious concern.
According to him, research conducted across states benefiting from the VCDP funding showed nutritional gap in most states of the federation, hence the need to integrate nutrition in the programme.
“In Taraba, Gasso Local Government was discovered to have great malnutrition level. The study discovered that certain things were not being done rightly and this training is part of efforts to address these issues in the state.
“Taraba has a lot of potential and most of the nutrition can be sourced locally, so we do not have much problem in the state.
“However, a manual for correction of malnutrition in the country has been developed, bearing in mind the nutritional value of Cassava and Rice which VCDP is intervening and the profitability of those in the business.
“It is important for people especially pregnant women to take good nutrition, clean water and also live in a clean environment to help in the brain development of the child,” she said.
.Earlier, Mr Iremiya Musa, the Taraba State Programme Coordinator (SPC) urged the participants to be good ambassadors of the programme.
“I want to urge you to pay attention to the lectures to enable you step down the training to people at the grassroots,” he said.
Mrs Altine James, the VCDP rural institutions, Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Officer in Taraba said Vitamin A fortified cassava was being identified with a lot of nutritional value.
She advocated good nutritional supplements for those under the age of five and called on mothers to practice exclusive breast feeding to help in the brain development of children
She noted that 10 farmers in Taraba were recently trained at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan on various ways of processing the yellow cassava.
One of the participants, Mrs Wasaji Angye from Fobijibajen Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, Wukari commended VCDP for the training.
Angye said it would not only help in addressing the issue of nutrition, but help in reducing poverty among the rural populace.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the processed items exhibited during the workshop include Yellow Cassava, Vitamin A Garri, Cassava cake, Cassava Custard and Cassava Chinchin.