It was an eventful couple of days at the SmartMother Business Empowerment event in Owerri, the capital of Nigeria’s Imo State.
Following the success of the Biofort Seedfair Campaign held in five states in Nigeria (Anambra, Nasarawa, Cross River, Oyo, and Imo), the Commercialization of Biofortified Crops (CBC) programme held a two-day SmartMother Business Empowerment Programme that brought together 30 entrepreneurial women & mothers from these states to strengthen their knowledge on food choices, healthy feeding practices, and production and processing of nutritious foods from biofortified crops for income generation and household consumption.
This activity is part of the CBC programme’s sustainability plan to ensure the consumption and commercialization of biofortified nutrient-dense foods from biofortified crops consumers in Nigeria. The CBC is co-led by HarvestPlus and GAIN, and is funded by the German Federal Ministery of Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Government of the Netherlands.
The event complements the efforts of CBC in the commercialization of biofortified crops and foods in Nigeria through women-led food businesses at the grassroots level. The small and mid-size businesses, to be launched by the 30 women trained at the business empowerment event, will produce and sell nutrient-dense food products and meals made with vitamin A-biofortified cassava, maize, and orange sweet potato, both for household consumption and commercial purposes. It is also expected that these women will continue to educate and train other women and mothers in their various communities, fulfilling their SmartMother role.
In this video, the women attending the training are shown singing a song in praise of biofortified foods:
The event received support from Sterling Bank and the the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration, and Control. At the end of the program, the Nigeria Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) issued Certificates of Incorporation to all 30 women to start their own biofortified food businesses in their various states.
The SmartMother nutrition champions advocacy program, which HarvestPlus initiated in Nigeria in 2016, focuses on educating mothers around the need to ensure good nutrition for themselves, their young children, and everyone in their families. The platform supports champion SmartMothers who hold community sensitization programs to share nutrition information with other mothers, and provide guidance on making foods from biofortified crops for household consumption as well as income generation.