HarvestPlus Tackles Violence with Diet


Paul Ilona, Harvest Plus Country manager, IITA,Ibadan, Oyo State


To reduce crime rate and violence in Nigeria, HarvestPlus Nigeria, a research institute, is set to spread its Hidden Hunger campaign across the states in the country. Paul Ilona, country manager of the institute, disclosed that lack of vitamin A deters growth, development, and maintenance of human immune system. To him, right diet with vitamin A make a child less hyperactive, alleviate an adult’s depression or even reduce aggression and anti-social acts. “No right thinking person would want to hurt another but when one’s diet is vitamin A deficient, then he is prone to act irrationally,” he told the magazine.

Ilona explained that his organisation is set to educate Nigerians on the importance of this nutrient in their meals. Already, the institute is working with 16 partners in the country. Some of them are Federal ministry of health, Federal ministry of agriculture, Oyo, Benue, Imo, Akwa Ibom state and other 10 state governments. “Our level of advocacy is really high. What we do is village-to-village dissemination of the pro vitamin A cassava. We use an indigene of a community to introduce us to the leaders in the community and disseminate the information and stems of pro vitamin A cassava to the farmers free and after harvest they are expected to give others free of charge,” he said.
The hidden hunger campaign, according to the crop scientist, does not refer to the overt and obvious hunger of individuals who are unable to afford enough to eat but to the deficiencies of micronutrients, vitamins and minerals, in individuals as a consequence of poor dietary quality, which negatively impacts on health, cognition, survival and economic development.

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