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Nigerian Entrepreneur Rita Robert Otu Is Empowering Women to Farm and Grow Self-Confidence

Nigerian Agroprenuer Rita Robert Otu of Beau Haven Farms is helping rural women grow and sell Vitamin-A rich cassava and changing their lives in the process.

The motive behind Rita Robert Otu’s Beau Haven Farms in Southern Nigeria is to train women to grow vitamin A-rich cassava a root vegetable also known as yuca which they can feed their families and also sell for income.

In doing so, Rita aims to tackle far more complex problems like gender inequality and malnutrition which in the region.

“Our goal is to encourage and support a new generation of entrepreneurial farmers,” she says.

Rita graduated as an agricultural economist at the University of Calabar before earning a master’s degree in rural development at the University of Manchester in the U.K.

In 2015, she opened Beau Haven Farms on three hectares of land she received from her father. “It is really beautiful,” she says of the red-soil farm, which has rows of leafy green vegetables with palm trees dotting the border.

“We started farming a new kind of cassava, with vitamin A.” In recent years, the anti-hunger organization HarvestPlus has distributed the specially developed vegetable to farm managers like Otu, to combat a vitamin A deficiency that is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa. The deficiency can impair vision and lower immunity.

Otu’s drive to impact the lives of people in her community have helped about 3,000 women, and she has been recognized for the work.

She was recently a regional winner for the British Council’s 2018 Entrepreneurial Awards, and UN Woman in 2016 named her a global community champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment.

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