Govs, Ministers, World Food Prize Winners to Open 2016 Nutritious Food Fair in Calabar

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Crusoe Osagie
To stimulate partnerships for investment in the food and agricultural sectors, the second edition of the annual Nutritious Food Fair (NFF) would hold from November 9 to 11 at TINAPA and the Calabar International Convention Center (CICC), in Cross River State.

Expected guests at the event include governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade; his Anambra State counterpart, Chief Willie Obiano; Ministers of Agriculture and Health, Chief Audu Ogbeh and Prof. Isaac Adewole, respectively and World Food Prize Winners, Dr. Howarth Boius and Dr. Jan Low, among others.

This was announced by Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, Paul Ilona, during a media parley held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, at the weekend.

Ilona said that the media parley was part of the organisation’s biannual partners review meeting, which is intended to assess the progress and strategies employed in the delivery of biofortification in Nigeria in 2016 and to draw a roadmap for 2017 for HarvestPlus Nigeria and its delivery partners in four target states, including Oyo, Benue, Imo and Akwa-Ibom.

On the nutritious food fair, he said the event would hold in Calabar and that there was no commercial intention in organizing the fair as, being an NGO, HarvestPlus, aims to bring together heavyweights in the industrial sector, food processors and farmers, so as to create necessary linkages and forge partnerships in the nutritious foods value chain.

“This year’s event would hold in Calabar. It is titled Multisectoral Partnership To Promote More Nutritious Crops and Foods. We, as always, do not have a commercial intention. We want to create linkages to promote partnerships in the nutritious food sector. We are providng a platform for conversation on and around nutrition, not in terms of quantity, but quality. We are using the fair as medium to get big industries to explore home-grown sources of nutritious staples as raw materials for their products,” he said.

HarvestPlus partner at the Akwa-Ibom State University (AKSU), Dr. Edna Akpan, said that the event would help to showcase the job that HarvestPlus has embarked on for about five years and also avail farmers with opportunity to interface with off takers of their produce, adding, “The fair follows from the successes of the last edition. This year promises to be bigger. We would be in Cross River to host farmers and show them that there is immense value in what they do.”

The first edition of the Nutritious Food Fair held in Abuja last year and attracted important government dignitaries including representation from the office of the Vice President, as well as key stakeholders in the agricultural, research, health, education, research, development and food sectors.

This year’s event promises to be more engaging. The three-day fair would bring together stakeholders I International and National research institutions, Agriculture, Health, Education, Science $ Technology and Trade and Commerce, including government representatives, development and donor agencies, small, medium and large scale food industries, input dealers, seed companies, researchers, farmers, processors, consumers, entertainment and media, among others. An estimated 5000 persons will participate in the event.
HarvestPlus leads a global effort to breed and disseminate micronutrient-rich staple food crops to reduce hidden hunger among malnourished populations. It is an interdisciplinary program that works with academic and research institutions, civil society organizations, governments, and the private sector in more than 40 countries. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health. HarvestPlus is coordinated by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).