• Saturday, May 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

HarvestPlus to hold food fair

HarvestPlus to hold food fair

In a bid to alleviate hunger and malnutrition, HarvestPlus, global bio-fortifier of nutritious crops, is set to hold its 20171 annual nutritious food fair in Enugu.

The nutritious food fair which is been held in partnership with the Enugu State Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) centre, Ministry of Agriculture, Health, Education, Budget and Planning is expected to attract over ten thousand participants both in the public and private sectors.

The fair, which will feature exhibitions from different parts of the country, will help contribute to increasing the production, value addition, marketing and consumption of more nutritious foods particularly those made from bio-fortified staple crops such as vitamin A cassava, vitamin A maize and orange sweet potato; and lay a foundation for the introduction of zinc rice, iron sorghum and iron millet.

“Today’s food is highly essential for tomorrow’s growth and we must begin to connect the dots between food, health and GDP growth for Nigeria,” said Paul Ilona, country manager, HarvestPlus during a recent media briefing in Lagos.

READ ALSO: HarvestPlus Nigeria set to launch ‘Biofort Stat’ to drive investment in nutrition

“With increasing vulnerability to hidden hunger, a condition where people do not get enough essential vitamins and minerals in their daily diets, cases of disabilities associated with micronutrient deficiencies, that is, poor immune system, low IQ, diarrhea, night blindness, anemia among other, will continue to grow if not checked,” Ilona said.

“In a country where about 50 percent of the population lives in the rural areas, micronutrient malnutrition will lead to increased pressure on national health budgets and a weak labour force that cannot drive agricultural production to meet demands of the food and industrial sectors.

According to Ilona, the nutritious food fair, which is gradually becoming the signature event in the food industry, has recorded a year-on-year 25 percent growth in the number of exhibitors, and some 50 percent growth in the number of participants during the past three years.

The World Bank estimates that Nigeria loses about N450 billion in GDP annually due mostly to micronutrient deficiencies. HarvestPlus and partners in Nigeria are developing and promoting nutrient rich staple crops and foods as a complementary strategy to reduce micronutrient malnutrition.

In addition to showcasing the opportunities for engaging small, medium and large-scale investors in the country, the fair will engage Master Trainers to mentor participants and provide post-training technical support.

Participants will acquire new knowledge and business guides on best farming practices by commercial farmers, best processing practices by medium and large scale processors, access to micro-credit by banks, access and use of inputs by agri-input dealers, product distribution by food industries and equipment use/maintenance by fabricators.

READ ALSO: Reflections on the World Food Day Celebrations

The most attractive segment of the food fair is the fun to catch. Consumers will find a world of nutritious food and drink options, traditional and masquerade dances, including special events such as the grande-finale of NutriQuiz competition for secondary schools, NutriYield competition for farmers and NutriCook competition for caterers.

In addition, the largest nutritious cassava dish in the world will be unveiled for a Guinness record and a new platform for women called ‘Smart Mother’ will be launched to give women a voice in nutrition.

 

Josephine Okojie