HarvestPlus supports the National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) to breed, test, and release vitamin A cassava developed through our partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). Cassava is one of the most widely consumed food staples in Nigeria.
We work with public and private sector partners to multiply vitamin A cassava stems and distribute to farmers. Our network of extension agents and rural facilitators receive training in best agronomic practices, which they pass along to farmers at the household level.
Creative public awareness campaigns leverage the power of mass media, including of Nollywood, in educating Nigerians on micronutrient deficiencies and the benefits of vitamin A cassava.
We are also creating and strengthening demand by supporting commercial processing of vitamin A cassava into popularly consumed products such as gari and fufu that are marketed nationwide. Innovative strategies to promote adoption and consumption include model one-stop shops where consumers can buy vitamin A cassava stems, tubers, and ready-to-eat products such as pies, cakes, and fufu.
Our advocacy seeks to strengthen national ownership of biofortification through effective integration into national nutrition and agricultural policies.
“Biofortification must be rigorously supported within the broader context of promoting a diversified and healthy food base for improved nutrition.”— Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Former Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development
Vitamin A Cassava
Nigeria ranks number 17 out of 78 countries suitable for investing in vitamin A cassava.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides up to 40% of daily vitamin A needs
Farmer Benefits: High yielding, virus resistant
Varieties: (2014) NR 07/0220 – UMUCASS 44, TMS 07/0593 – UMUCASS 45, and TMS 07/539 – UMUCASS 46 (2011) TMS 01/1368 – UMUCASS 36, TMS 01/1412 – UMUCASS 37, and TMS 01/1371 – UMUCASS 38
- Vitamin A deficiency impairs growth, causes eye damage leading to blindness, and increases the risk of infections such as diarrheal disease.
- 30% of Nigerian children under 5 are estimated to be vitamin A deficient (WHO).
- Annually, Nigeria loses over US$1.5 billion in GDP to vitamin and mineral deficiencies (World Bank).