We have been working on bio-fortified crops especially provitamin A rich orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP), iron rich beans (IRB) in Uganda and yellow cassava in Liberia successfully where the beneficiaries are mostly women, under five children (girls & boys), pregnant women, lactating mothers and youth (adolescent girls). We have established a tissue culture lab (TCL) in Nakaseke seed farm in Uganda for production of disease free vines of HYV of OFSP (Naspot10 O, Naspot12 O, Naspot13 O) successfully and supplied to 40 vine producers and reached >16000 HH beneficiaries of 4 western districts targeting women led agriculture farming for food & nutrition security of small holders in Uganda. We have developed & trained community promoters such as Community Agriculture Promoter (CAP), Community health promoter (CHP) and adolescent health promoter (AHP) where 100 % are youth girls. We have developed new extension model and ensured technical guidance & effective extension services to HH beneficiaries (mostly women) through CAP. These were integrated with health & WASH practices through CHP partnership with Govt. local health and Agriculture services and peer to peer learning through AHP in Uganda. This model can be replicated to Asia particularly in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. and others African counties.
There are huge potential for large scale promotion of high zinc rice & wheat to reduce stunting problems, iron rich lentil (IRL) & IRB for reducing anaemia (iron deficiency), provitamin A rice maize OFSP, yellow cassava and red maize for reducing vitamin A deficiency (VAD) in Bangladesh and others in Asia especially in Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan etc. and also in Africa too. We need to work very closely for production, consumption, value addition with multiple uses and marketing link of bio fortified nutrient rich crops to small holders particularly women, youth in agriculture.
Our keen interest to introduce and scale up of such crops with supply of quality seeds/vines, ensure effective extension services through local service producers (for example CAP, CHP, AHP etc.), integration with health services & WASH practices, ensuring consumption of nutrient rich crops by U2-5 Childs, pregnant women, lactating mothers, adolescent youth (both girl & boys) and women. So it require awareness build-up of Agriculture nutrition based bio-fortified crops, advocacy to Govt. policy for production, consumption, e-marketing and income of small holders especially women in agriculture in Asia and Africa. We need to develop quality training modules, skill training using pictorial flipchart and manuals with both local & English language, ensure quality seeds/vines to youth especially 'Empowering women in agriculture for better nutrition'
New funding opportunity, resource mobilization and partnership with Govt. –INGO- local NGO & private sectors with LSP could be the priority for 'Empowering women in agriculture for better nutrition'.
Md. Abdul Mazid, PhD
Advisor, Agriculture | BRAC International, Bangladesh