It was an eventful five days (11-15 October) at the 2021 National Agricultural Show and World Food Day Celebration in Nassarawa State where HarvestPlus Nigeria and its partners from 10 states exhibited nutritious products from biofortified crops. 

The 2021 National Agricultural Show and World Food Day celebration event was organized by the National Agricultural Foundation of Nigeria (NAFN) in collaboration with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The event offers stakeholders like HarvestPlus the opportunity to showcase their nutritious products and produce technological innovations in the agricultural value chain, and agricultural inputs and equipment.

The theme of the event “Celebrating the Resilience and Role of the Smallholder Farmers in Sustaining Food Systems in Nigeria,” was carefully chosen in recognition of the efforts of smallholder farmers to meet 90 percent of the staple food needs of the country’s population, in the face of daunting economic and security challenges.  

At the event, stakeholders in the agricultural sector emphasized the importance of smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries, and the role they play in sustainable food systems around the world. In Nigeria, smallholder farmers are the backbone of agricultural development and are one of the basic conditions for poverty alleviation and sustained economic development.

Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of NAFN, described smallholder farmers in his opening remarks as the “heroes of agricultural development in the country and the survival of the nation and citizens despite all odds.”

Adamu noted that “farmers are being celebrated not out of sentiment but a genuine conviction that they deserve national acknowledgment for their capacity to survive in good and bad weather and to be able to feed us.”

Amid celebrating the resilience and role of smallholder farmers in sustainable food systems in Nigeria, the importance of growing, eating, and commercializing biofortified crops and foods took center stage during the goodwill message delivered by Yusuf Dollah, HarvestPlus Maize Specialist. He called on all stakeholders to take nutrition seriously and join efforts in promoting biofortified crops and foods at the grassroot level.

“It is our mission to develop and scale up the delivery of these nutritious crops around the world so that every child, woman, and man who needs them can have access,” said Dollah. 

HarvestPlus Nigeria and three of its partners received laudable awards at the event in recognition of their unwavering commitment to improving sustainability in agriculture at the grassroots level, enhancing crop quality, and tackling hidden hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria. 

The event closed with the inauguration of “Biofortified Crops Growers and Processors Association of Nigeria” by Dr. Rasaq Oyeleke, Deputy Director Nutrition and Food Safety (Federal Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development). The association will go ahead to promote biofortified crops in Nigeria, ensure good farming practices through training and seminars, promote the consumption of biofortified products, promote the sale and distribution of biofortified seeds and processed food, serve as an emissary between the government and relevant stakeholders in the growing of Biofortified related crops among others.