HarvestPlus launches biofortification recipe book to guide families on nutrition 

HarvestPlus Nigeria has launched the first national recipe book including nutrient-enriched foods titled “Biofortified Crops on my Plate” which features a collection of practical and traditional dishes that have been adapted to provide added nutrition and fight malnutrition through biofortified foods. 

The Country Manager of HarvestPlus Yusuf Dollah Fu’ad it took them one year three months to put the book together. He said when they started, they thought they could do it in three months, but after the three months, that was when they realised that the real work started.

“The reason why it took us this time is because we have to go through processes for us to have a very good book.

“So, the first thing we did was to ask our partners to donate some these recipes, and I want to commend the partners that have donated these recipes.

“After collecting these recipes from our partners, we now ended up with recipes but in text form, so we had to convoke a two day meeting in Abuja inviting all stakeholders to validate the recipes.

“We went to Ibadan, we converted the text into real food and we took samples of the food to the laboratory for nutrient content analysis and we also employed the services of a professional photographer for the photoshoot sessions”, he noted.

“This recipe book is a testament to the power of food to nourish and heal, and we hope it will inspire people to incorporate nutritious biofortified crops into their diets and improve their health and well-being,” said Erick Boy, Chief Nutritionist, HarvestPlus. 

The book was developed by HarvestPlus in partnership with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Federal Ministry of Health, and its development partners, 

The recipes include popular Nigerian biofortified staples such as vitamin A cassava, vitamin A maize, and vitamin A orange sweet potato, which have been shown to reduce micronutrient deficiencies and improve the health of women and children when eaten regularly.

Biofortification uses conventional breeding to develop food crops that provide more of the essential vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) required for good health. 

The book is a valuable resource for mothers, caregivers, cooks, food processors, bakers, teachers, and students to incorporate biofortified vitamin A food crops into their diets. 

It is also a useful tool for researchers, development workers in the agriculture and health sectors, agricultural value chain developers, extension agents, health workers, and policymakers working to combat nutrition insecurity and poverty.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar who was represented by the Director, Tree crops, Ukattah Chukwuemeka, said like many other African countries, the nutrition situation in Nigeria is a concern.

He said “stunting and wasting rates are 37% and 7% respectively. Key micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron, zinc and iodine were equally deficient in foods consumed by vulnerable groups in Nigeria. 

“Equally, less than half of children in Nigeria eat iron rich/fortified foods. There is concern that the prevalence of child stunting, wasting, and micronutrient deficiencies is expected to increase. 

He said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development within the context of the new National Agricultural Technology Innovative Policy, is prioritizing nutrition.

 The Minister said the policy is to attain optimal nutritional status for all Nigerians through accelerating the scaling up of priority and high impact nutrition sensitive interventions. 

“This recipe book will in no doubt serve as an instructional tool for intending and existing food manufacturers, caterers, food distributors, Extension Agents and other relevant stakeholders in the food industry. 

“It will also serve as a pedestal for job and wealth creation for our teeming youths. Furthermore, this book will provide guidance for cooks under the National homegrown school feeding programme of the Federal Government. 

“The benefiting children within the range of this intervention will have more access to biofortified foods being given to them under this program”, he added.

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