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Nollywood, NGO promote adoption of cassava

24 September 2014, 16:16Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - The country's movie directors have partnered with HarvestPlus, the global programme to improve nutrition, to entertain and inform locals on healthy lifestyles.

This has culminated in the production of movies aimed at helping locals improve their diets and health using Vitamin A-enriched cassava.

The movies will premiere later on Wednesday at the 11 th Abuja International Film Festival.

The movies feature vitamin A cassava as part of their storyline.

“No doubt these movies will go a long way in addressing the scarce nutrition information we have in this part of the world. We are optimistic that they will help educate the Nigerian populace that consumes cassava,” said Zeb Ejiro of Smile Africa, which represents Nollywood’s top directors.

He noted that with more than 75 percent of Nigerians watching Nollywood movies, both in rural or urban areas, the movies have an important role to play in encouraging all Nigerians to grow and eat this nutritious cassava.

Also Read: Entries open for Abuja Film Fest

The movies star Nigeria’s top actors – Segun Arinze, Monalisa Chinda, Chidi Muokeme and Emeka Ossai, among others.

The four movies are:  The Yellow Cassava (English), Dada Oni Paki (Yoruba), Ebiyebi (Ibo) and Sakani (Hausa).

Each is in a different language to ensure that all Nigerians can learn about the benefits of vitamin A cassava.

The Ministry of Agriculture is promoting vitamin A cassava under its ambitious Agricultural Transformation Agenda
and has been a key supporter of Smile Africa’s vitamin A cassava-themed movies.

It has also supported HarvestPlus
and its partners in distributing vitamin A cassava stems to over 500 000 farmers in 3 000 villages and connecting farmers, processors and sales outlets to ensure that vitamin A cassava is available to the average Nigerian.

"Nutritious foods are critical for good health, but a powerful communication channel is needed to drive this message home,” said Paul Ilona, the HarvestPlus Nigeria Country Manager.

“Nollywood produces the most popular and widely accessible films not just in Nigeria, but throughout Africa. This partnership will greatly expand the audience for our messaging on vitamin A deficiency and the nutritional benefits of vitamin A cassava," he added.

Also Read:Fiberesima finally breaks silence

It supports the goal to reach 10 million Nigerians with this nutritious cassava variety over the next four years.

The Nigerian Actors Guild led by its President, Ibinabo Fiberesima, will attend the launch along with the films’ directors and stars.

Government officials and regulatory bodies such as the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have been invited.

In Nigeria 30 percent of preschool-aged children and 20 percent of pregnant women suffer from vitamin A deficiency resulting in poor vision, blindness and sometimes death.

It is anticipated that by eating the new yellow cassava variety, people can meet almost half their daily needs of vitamin A.

However, consumers first have to be convinced to switch over from the traditional white cassava.

- CAJ News

Tags nollywood

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