The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) in Niger says it has trained 10 women on how to turn cassava by-products into confectioneries and food.
Dr Matthew Ahmed, the State Programme Coordinator (SPC), made this known in an interview with the newsmen in Minna on Saturday.
Ahmed said that the training, sponsored by the VCDP, took place at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, where the women were trained for one week.
He said that the training provided recipes for producing a variety of Vitamin `A’-fortified cassava by-products such as Combobits, Casmoi, Casarita, Vitamin `A’ Gari, Fufu, Custard and Caschin.
The State Programme Coordinator said that the essence of the training was to tackle malnutrition among the rural populace by injecting vitamin fortified cassava by-products into their daily food consumption.
“Nutrition is a key activity of the IFAD-VCDP; that was why we carried out a study which identified the nutritional gaps in various households.
“Therefore introducing vitamin `A’ into their meals will improve their nutritional intakes, and will go a long way in bridging the gaps.’’
Accordinh to him, the recipes’ production is an income generating activity aimed at empowering the women financially.
“Each of the women were supported with starter packs such as gas cylinder, ceiling machine, extruder and vitamin `A’ cassava floor to start business.’’
Also, Hajiya Maimuna Ahmed, the VCDP state Rural Institution, Gender and Youth Mainstreaming Officer, urged the trainees to step-down the knowledge they hade acquired to women in their clusters.
Ahmed said that the VCDP would follow up to ensure that more people were trained, and the knowledge utilised.
She said that the IFAD-VCDP had a special interest in empowering women and youths by ensuring that 40 per cent of the programme’s beneficiaries were women.
The official said that the training was carried out in the six VCDP participating states of Anambra, Benue, Ebonyi, Niger, Ogun and Taraba.
According to him, two women were selected from each of the five participating local government areas in each state.
Meanwhile in a separate interview, Mrs Veronica Agbo, a beneficiary from Bida local government, thanked the IFAD-VCDP for the gesture and promised to utilise the knowledge acquired in the training.
The Federal Government is implementing a six-year intervention programme for rice and cassava VCDP in the the six states earlier identified.
The programme, prepared in 2010, was approved for an IFAD loan of 74.4 million dollars and 500,000-dollar grant in April 2012.
The programme, scheduled to complete its projects in Dec. 31, 2019, is expected to terminate by June 30, 2020.