Using wild plants to abate poverty in southwest Nigeria is the focus of the Cape Breton University (CBU) Office of Research and Graduate Studies Explorations Breakfast being held on Wednesday, November 28 at 7:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Sydney Waterfront.
Through a grant awarded by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), Dr. Thomas Bouman of the School of Science and Technology, joined by researchers from the University of Manitoba, Obafemi Awolowo University and Osun State University, are conducting research that will enable poor rural Nigerian women to cultivate, process, and market underutilized vegetables. At CBU, Dr. Richard Watuwa of the Shannon School of Business, Dr. Dana Mount of the School of Arts and Social Sciences and Master of Business Administration student Pamela Johnson are working with Dr. Bouman on the project.
During the breakfast event, attendees will hear about the project’s successes and challenges to date and about working collaboratively with close to 100 Nigerian women in the areas of farming, marketing research and community outreach. “The project will be able to test rigorously the cultivation and adoption of under-utilized vegetables that will increase the resilience of farming communities and improve their livelihood in an age of ecological, economic, and social change,” says Dr. Bouman.
Interestingly, this 3.5 year project involves a dynamic faculty collaboration that combines the expertise of three schools on campus. The project, which is international in scope, allows for cross cultural engagement and learning opportunities, and research and training will be active in both Canada and Nigeria.
Poor quality nutrition, hunger and disease being faced by humans in developing countries are as common as they are plentiful. In Nigeria, more than 70 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line, on less than $1 per day and are classified as poor, with 35 per cent living in absolute poverty. Through training and education, the research team hopes to address these issues by equipping rural Nigerian women with the skills and knowledge needed to establish and maintain financial empowerment and food security.
The CIFSRF has allocated under the auspices of International Development Research Centre and the Canadian International Development Agency $357,914 to CBU for the project.
For more information on research at Cape Breton University visit www.cbu.ca/research.