Cassava is the staple food in most West African countries including Nigeria, where vitamin A deficiency is common. Except for delivering energy in the form of carbohydrates, the nutritional value of cassava is limited.
Yellow cassava varieties are naturally rich in β-carotene (provitamin A), and breeding programs at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) are now focussed on the purposive growing of cassava varieties with increased β-carotene content, while maintaining important traits such as yield and disease resistance. With the support of IFPRI/HarvestPlus, we collaborate with IITA and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to implement a randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of yellow cassava to improve vitamin A status and health of preschool children in Nigeria. An important prerequisite for this study is to use local preparation methods and recipes. We will make use of an isotope dilution technique to assess vitamin A status.