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Sunday, October 26, 2014

New study says Orange Maize improves Vitamin A in children

The latest study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN)  has established that ‘orange’ vitamin A maize increases vitamin A storage in the body, NaijaAgroNet Reports.

This maize, NaijaAgroNet gathered has been orthodoxly bred as non- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to have higher levels of beta-carotene, a naturally occurring plant pigment that the body then converts into vitamin A.

Experts from AJCN affirmed to NaijaAgroNet that lack of sufficient vitamin A blinds up to 500,000 children annually and increases the risk of death from disease (such as diarrhea in children). Thus, Vitamin A deficiency is widely prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered that foods that are good sources of vitamin A, such as orange fruits, dark leafy vegetables, or meat, are not always available, or where they are they could be too expensive in some regions. 

Just as in many African countries, people eat large amounts of staple foods like cassava or maize. 

The efficacy study,  NaijaAgroNet learnt revealed that children from the Eastern Province of Zambia were randomly assigned to three feeding groups and received either white maize, orange maize, or a daily vitamin A supplement. After three months, both groups that received either the orange maize or vitamin A supplements showed significant increases in their total body stores of vitamin A, with no changes observed in the group that received white maize. 

Lead scientist Sherry Tanumihardjo said “we were surprised to find that most of the children in this study already had substantial stores of vitamin A. We attribute this to the success of fortifying sugar with vitamin A, the provision of vitamin A supplements to young children, and perhaps better diets. Yet, despite having adequate vitamin A stores, we still saw this store increase in children as a result of eating the orange maize. So, I’m confident that orange maize would be especially effective in increasing body stores of vitamin A in populations suffering from vitamin A deficiency.” 

Unlike the form of vitamin A found in supplements and fortified foods, Sherry said, the body regulates conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A, and consuming high levels of beta-carotene is not harmful to health. 

Additionally, Sherry said several orange maize varieties have been released by the governments of Zambia and Nigeria. 

HarvestPlus Country Manager for Zambia, Eliab Simpungwe, stated in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet that in Zambia, they provided orange maize to more than 10,000 farming households and is now working with the private sector with the goal of reaching 100,000 farmers by 2015. 

“The orange maize has been embraced by consumers once they have had a chance to taste it. When they also understand the benefits of vitamin A in the diets they are all the more enthusiastic about orange maize”  Simpungwe said.

Pointing out that the orange maize varieties released are also high yielding, disease and virus resistant, and drought tolerant. 

The Zambian Government has officially recognized biofortification, which it includes in the National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan for Zambia 2011-2015. 

Additionally, the Acting Executive Director of the National Food and Nutrition Commission in Zambia, Musonda Mofu, who was also on the study team, said “there are still many pockets where vitamin A deficiency remains a problem in Zambia. 

"Food-based approaches such as orange maize can provide people—especially women and children—with a good portion of their daily vitamin A needs through nshima or other traditional foods made from maize, that we Zambians eat every day. For us, this is cost-effective and a safe approach to improving nutrition,”  Mofu assured.

+Remmy Nweke @ITRealms @HarvestPlus @AJCN @VitaminA @FAO #FMARD #Nigeria #VitaminA
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CTA, UNIPORT conclude Web 2.0 social media course

The University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) and The Netherlands-based Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), have concluded a four-day training course on Web 2.0 social media, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The learning opportunities, NaijaAgroNet gathered is the second training progarmme being jointly hosted by UNIPORT and CTA under the theme: “Web 2.0 social media learning opportunities training course.”

This year’s programmed which lasted between October 20 through 24, 2014, NaijaAgroNet also learnt has its primary objective to equip participants with a research and collaboration tool that would facilitate their adoption and dissemination of simple and replicable internet–based technologies and applications.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the participants were drawn from institutions of higher learning and Research Institutes in South-East and South-South geopolitical zones of Nigeria. 

The opening ceremony which took place at the Elsevier e-Learning room, Donald Ekong Library of the University on the first day was declared open by the Vice Chancellor, UNIPORT, Prof. Joseph Atubokiki Ajineka.

+Remmy Nweke @NaijaAgroNet +Lohento Ken +CTA Brussels +Johnson Opigo @UNIPORT  @DigitalSENSEng @Nkemdilim Nweke @FMARD +Remmy Nweke (ITRealms)

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Nigerians walk for 2014 World Food Day

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on October 13, 2014 commemorated this year's World Food Day beginning with a sensitization walk around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), reports NaijaAgroNet.

The exercise in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) commenced with a walk sensitization to commemorate the activities lined up for this year’s World Food Day in Nigeria began from Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to Federal Secretariat, Abuja.

The Director, Planning and Policy Coordination at the Ministry, Mrs. Rabi Idi Adamu, who stood in for the Honourable Minister, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, told NaijaAgroNet the theme of this year’s World Food Day is “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.”

Also, Dr. Akinwumi said that the theme of this year’s World Food Day is apt, because of the roles families play in food production and Agricultural Transformations world over to facilitate food production and Animal Husbandry, especially for the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) which has recorded tremendous strides.

NaijaAgroNet recalls that the time table for the activities of this year include a walk sensitization of staff of the Ministry and FAO officials, Ministerial Press briefing, School Debate, Photo/ Book Exhibition, Symposium and Novelty Football March between ATA Bombers and GES Attackers.

+RemmyNweke #WorldFoodDay2014 @WorldFoodDay2014 @NaijaAgroNet @DigitalSENSEng @FAO @FMARD #Nigeria
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Emirates Airline gets prize for regional inspired cuisine, inflight services

The Emirates Airlines has won the Saveur Magazine’s Culinary Travel Award for Best In-Flight Dining: First Class & Business Class for the second consecutive year, reports NaijaAgroNet.
Saveur, an American-based, globally recognised culinary-travel magazine, asked an expert panel of world travellers and readers to identify the world's best cities, markets, restaurants, bars, hotels, airlines and other experiences. The panel cited Emirates’ seven-course meals served on Royal Doulton fine bone china, extensive range of vintage wines, and healthy fare as factors that set it apart from other entrants. 
Terry Daly, Divisional Senior Vice President, Service Delivery said in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet that Saveur is one of the most influential and respected voices in the culinary world.
“Being recognised by a publication of Saveur’s calibre carries special weight and validates the attention to detail we put into our in-flight food and beverage programme. The quality of our cuisine reflects Emirates’ commitment to providing our passengers with the world’s best flying experience,” Daly said.
Emirates’ regionally inspired dishes are prepared by five-star chefs, who customise each in-flight menu to reflect the culinary tastes of specific routes and destinations. Travellers can experience a different menu with each Emirates trip – from Japanese gastronomy served in specially designed crockery, to authentic Indian regional favourites.  
NaijaAgroNet also gathered that Saveur panel recognised Emirates’ Onboard Lounge – available to First Class and Business Class passengers on A380 flights – as another key service element that helped the airline earn top honours. The Onboard Lounge provides a place for passengers to stretch their legs, network over fine wines and cocktails, and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and delicacies at 40,000 feet.
"As inveterate travellers, diners, and cooks, the editors, contributors and readers of Saveur seek out the very best culinary destinations the world over," said Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor of Saveur. "This year's Culinary Travel Award winners excite and inspire us with their commitment to excellent food, drink, service and experiences. We are so thrilled to have such exciting and delicious options when planning our latest food-filled journeys."
+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +Emirates  @DigitalSENSEng @NaijaAgroNet @Nkemdilim Nweke 
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How to start Ebola treatment at home


Even though Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free, another case is highly likely at some point, according to health experts. 

Treatment can begin at home as soon as one suspects there is an Ebola case in the household. 

 The BBC's Will Ross in Lagos, Nigeria, spoke to Dr Simon Mardel, a global health adviser and expert on Ebola who was in Guinea earlier in the outbreak.

 Dr Mardel said people who suspect they might have Ebola need to rehydrate at home even before they have received any medical attention.

Outside the headline: Courtesy  bbc
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Elumelu promotes N1,4trn fund for distressed communities

Influential banker, Mr. Tony Elumelu through his Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund has promoted a $9 million, about N1.4 trillion fund to empower and support distressed communities nationwide, reports NaijaAgroNet.
The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund, NaijaAgroNet recalls is an aftermath of a $16 Million pledged by Tony Elumelu in July 2014 at the Presidential Fundraising Dinner in support of victims by President Goodluck Jonathan to offer relief to victims affected by insurgency and conflict across the nation in recent years.

NaijaAgroNet  also gathered that Elumelu had reportedly disbursed N1 billion to the Victims Support Fund soon after the pledge, while the remaining N1.5 billion now serves as the initial seeding for the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund

A press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet, the Fund will focus on helping to revitalize the economies of post conflict and disaster communities.

“Rehabilitating distressed communities will require interventions not just from the government, but also from the private sector.  Therefore, I am pleased to see that Tony Elumelu, one of our private sector leaders, stepped up in a big way – by making a major contribution to the Victim Support Fund and that his effort did not end there as he has now created the Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund,” said President  Jonathan.

The fund to be managed by Tony Elumelu Foundation’s arm, The Elumelu Nigeria Empowerment Fund, will work to transform communities that have been devastated by natural disasters and insurgency, into prosperous and economically sustainable communities. 

The Fund is expected to create opportunities and empower people in affected communities across Nigeria enabling them to rebuild their lives and businesses whilst instilling a sense of economic empowerment for the long-term.
Chuks Dominic
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Pix: Tony Elumelu