The Country Director of HarvestPlus, Dr. Yusuf Dollah, has disclosed that HarvestPlus has developed and launched bio-fortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
The initiative, according to him, will exploit the championing of food transformation in Africa.
Dollah, while speaking to journalists during the unveiling of the two iron-rich pearl millets in Kano, further explained that the first bio-fortified varieties initiative was built on scaling efforts in India, where the number of farming households growing iron pearl millets jumped 395 per cent since 2021.
He said: “The first bio-fortified varieties of pearl millets to be released on the Africa continent were named Jirano and chakti.”
The Country Director lamented that climate volatility in northern Nigeria has led to decreased crop yields, and nutrients in some of the staples, adding that increased food prices, and heightened food insecurity have worsened cases of malnutrition.
Dollah said: “Smallholder farmers are also looking for opportunities to bridge the production yield gap brought about by climate stress through improved agricultural technologies like nutrient-enriched seeds.
The Country director, however, assured that “as an affordable dietary source of iron in the region, iron-enriched varieties of pearl millet like chakti and jirani can improve nutrition for millions of farming households, providing up to 80 per cent of daily iron needs when eating regularly.”