Cassava is a major staple food in Nigeria that is consumed by more than 100 million people. However, while the commonly available white cassava can provide most of the body’s daily energy requirements, it lacks micronutrients, such as Vitamin A, that are essential for a healthy and productive life. Though Vitamin A deficiency is a major issue in Africa, Nigeria sees a prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency in nearly 13 of children under 5 years old, and 14 of all pregnant women in the country are Vitamin A deficient which can impair the body’s immunity to infectious diseases and cause eye damage that can lead to blindness and even death. The implementation of this project is imperative as it falls within the key objective of Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation Challenge fund for Sustainable and Healthy Food in the cities.
Defrane solution will focus on promoting and improving access to Vitamin A cassava products to cities through the cluster of agriculture incubators for smallholder women Vitamin cassava farmers in Ondo state. Vitamin A cassava is increasing replacing starch white cassava as household stable food due to its many health benefits. Defrane will employ climate smart agriculture strategy to ensure that the project conform with the global direction of greenhouse gas emission reduction. To make sure that Vitamin A products delivery schedule are uninterrupted, the following activities will be conducted: cluster 1000 smallholder women farmers under agriculture incubator model that enable them do commercial farming, onsite mini processing of the Vitamin A cassava tubers including conversion of waste to animal feeds; provide irrigation facilities to the incubator farms to ensure all year planting; step-up women stem build capacity and support selected smallholders women farmers as Stem Multiplication Entrepreneurs, develop warehouse receipt system to offtake the tubers at any season, step up logistic system to pick farm produce from farm gate to cities at a reduce cost; set up rural Sale Point (SP) in collaboration with reputable organic fertilizer coy to up farmers’ access to organic products, and linkages to both local and external markets.
Defrane will ensure sustainability by ensuring linkage of the smallholder women farmers to credit facilities to sustain cluster farming of Vitamin A cassava and multiplication of stems as a business venture.