By Wale Ibrahim, Lokoja
An Agricultural expert, Synergos Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) is to promote Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture to enhance production and consumption of healthy crops for national growth.
The Synergos Senior Field Manager, Mr Victor Adejoh disclosed this at on-going three-day National Consultation and Capacity Development on integration of Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture for Agric Extension Agents on Wednesday in Lokoja.
Adejoh explained that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was providing technical support for the training workshop as part of the State Partnership for Agriculture (SPA) programme being implemented in Kogi, Benue and Kaduna States.
He said the nutrition sensitive agriculture discuss was pulled out from the National Food Security and Nutrition Strategy (NFSNS) with a view to domicile nutrition within the agriculture sector.
“We pooled together participants from the agricultural sector to understand nutrition in a long term, looking at nutrition from the perspective of food system, how farmers are supported and how processing can be improved. This is largely why this has been put together.
“The outcome of this workshop will be informing development of curriculum, how training of extension workers will be improved on to further deliver on nutrition sensitive agriculture.
Deborah Yusufu, Head, Women in Agriculture, Kaduna Agricultural Development Agency, said there was need for emphasis on Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture because most farmers and households lacked the knowledge to combine various foods for good nutrition.
“We grow a lot of good and nutritious food crops but lack the knowledge to combine them to give us nutritious food. If you don’t utilize them well, you will have a lot of stunting and even death among children, especially women and lactating mothers.
Mrs Rachael Tokula, Director, Nutrition and Home Economics, Kogi Ministry of Agriculture in her submission, said the training was apt as it was time for farmers to know the importance of nutrition to the society.
Tokula said that the Agriculture Ministry in the state had started training of farmers on the need for them to know the importance of nutrition and consider the health of the consumer in churning out their produce.
Mrs Comfort Sende, Director, Women in Agriculture, Agricultural Development Project (ADP) Benue State said the ADP, through block extension agents (specialized women extension agents) had been teaching women how to combine the necessary food for good nutrition.
Sende said, “The problem with the ruralites and especially the farmers is that most of them feel that they are poor and don’t have money and so, cannot afford good nutrition.
“But it is not that way. Most of the products are from their farms but they don’t know how to combine them to make their nutrition a balanced one.
“So, we go to them and tell them to use what they have and that Nutritious food must not necessarily be expensive”, she said.