No fewer than 150 farmers in Ogun were trained on Friday on the importance of good nutrition and balanced diet in eradicating malnutrition in the country.
The training was organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) through its assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) at Ifo in Ogun.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training had the theme: “Improving Nutrition Outcome through Agriculture’’.
Participants trained were selected from five local governments in the state comprising: Obafemi/Owode, Yewa North, Ijebu-Northeast, Ijebu East and Ifo.
Mrs Sidi Osho, the National Consultant Mainstreaming Nutrition into Agriculture for IFAD-VCDP, said it was important for farmers to have the knowledge and benefit of taking adequate and balanced nutrition.
Osho said the training would help in checkmating the problem of malnutrition in the country, especially among children.
“We noticed that most of our farmers are not only hard working but are also high producers of cassava and rice.
“However, they tend to sell a lot of their produce without having the information and education on balanced nutritious food for themselves, especially on crops they produced themselves.
“IFAD also did a survey and it was discovered that in six states of the Federation including Ogun, there were severe malnutrition and stunting.
“According to the survey, it was discovered that 42 per cent of children in Ogun under the age of five are stunted, that is they are too short for their age.
“So, we saw the need to integrate nutrition into cassava and rice because of its health benefits and inculcating education on adequate and balanced nutrition into the lives of the people.
“We have identified some other recipes that can be produced from Vitamin A-fortified cassava, which would help improve the nutritional value in their household and also generate income for the farmers,’’ Osho said.
She decried the low level of knowledge about good nutrition among farmers and their families, saying that it called for quick intervention.
The consultant said that eating nutritious and balanced food was very important for farmers as it would help protect them and their household from sickness.
According to her, it will also increase food production in the country, because when farmers eat nutritious balanced meals, they will be healthy enough to work on their farmland.
She urged the trainees to apply what they learnt in their households and to also train other people in their various communities so as to address malnutrition in the country.
Also speaking, Miss Balikis Kukoyi, the State Consultant, Mainstream Office to IFAD -VCDP, said that eating good and balanced meals would not only eradicate malnutrition but also improve health and longevity.
Kukoyi spoke on the correction of malnutrition in the country, good hygienic practices, maternal nutrition, breast-feeding and food production.
“As farmers, there is the need to eat balanced meals. At least a meal must contain a minimum of four food groups: protein, fat and oil, mineral and vitamins.
“There should also be a change of recipe after each meal. The idea of repeating a particular meal for a whole day is not healthy, even if the meal is rich in content,’’ she said.
Kukoyi said that maternal nutrition was very important among female farmers, advising them to eat good nutritious food, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding to help in development of the child’s brain.
She advocated good nutritional supplements for children under the age of five and urged mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months.
The state consultant urged farmers to be hygienic by washing their hands regularly, drinking clean water and cleaning their environment, so as to prevent themselves from getting sick.
On food production, she advised women farmers to have an entrepreneurial mind set, to be creative and skillfully to improve the nutritional value of their homes and generate income.
Kukoyi suggested some recipes for vitamin A fortified cassava, which included cassava moi-moi, combobite and cassava chin-chin, among others.
She urged the participants to take good advantage of all that were taught and to also extend the training to other farmers in their communities.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mrs Elizabeth Adenekan, commended IFAD-VCDP for the training, saying it would not only help in addressing the issue of malnutrition but also help in reducing poverty among farmers.
Adenekan pledged that the farmers would practice what they had learnt and would also train other farmers when they return to their various communities.