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How Night Blindness Can Be Controlled — Expert

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It has been established that night blindness can be controlled through nutrition and particularly using Vitamin A enhanced plantain.

Disclosing this at a training organized by researchers funded by the African Union with IITA as the principal partner and National Horticultural Research Institute as the national partner, Dr Olaide Aderibigbe of NIHORT who stood in for Dr. Pat Udomkun of IITA at the training held at Idi-Ishin Ibadan reiterated that new technologies coupled with integrated soil fertility management has yielded plantain-based composite flour.

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This product which has been tested by nutritionists and paediatric nurses can be fed to children from 6 to 24 months to prevent night blindness and other ailments.

She also added that improved post harvest practices will help to generate more employment, reduce post harvest losses and increase the income of the farmers.

Dr Dorcas Ibitoye and Dr Pamela Akin-Idowu are the principal investigators partners for this African Union Plantain project in NIHORT.

The extensive training program also featured an expose on drying methods where trainees were taught using several energy types like fossil fuel, electricity and solar energy to power drying implements in order to preserve or add value to food crops like plantain, beans, pepper, tomato and others.

Participants which included teachers, nurses, plantain farmers and processors were also taken to the Research Institute’s Plantain germplasm Research field where about 46 different species of plantain/banana are conserved.

The investigators are now at the level of partnering with plantain farmers, marketers and processors together with all stakeholders in the banana value chain by releasing these banana species suckers for onward propagation on individual farms with calls being made for those who may be interested in seedling propagation to quickly get involved now.

The Executive Director of NIHORT Dr Abayomi Olaniyan as well as the Director Research Review and Planning Dr Ephraim Nwanguma were present at the training and gave out certificates to all participants.

If the findings from this plantain research is fully embraced by all, we would have taken a step further in arresting wastage of farm harvest and well on our journey to food security.

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