Posts Tagged ‘Mexico’

New Videos Highlight the Benefits of Nixtamalization



The CIMMYT Global Maize program, with funding from the MAIZE CRP, recently produced a series of videos on nixtamalization, the process of cooking and steeping dried maize grain with water and lime (calcium hydroxide) in order to unlock important nutritional benefits. The video is meant to serve as an instructional tool to inform the public about the positive nutritional and physical characteristics the nixtamalization process can bring to maize.

Nixtamalization is a traditional maize preparation method that has been practiced in Central America for centuries.  The process induces changes in the kernel’s structure, chemical composition, physical properties and nutritional value; increasing the calcium content as well as the bioavailability of protein and niacin. This helps to prevent malnutrition and related diseases such as pellagra and kwashiorkor in populations that consume a maize-based diet, as maize, while very nutritious, is deficient in certain important amino acids in its raw form. The nixtamalization process also allows for the creation of masa, or maize dough, which can be formed into many traditional food items that form the basis of Central American diets, such as tortillas.

The videos explain both the traditional domestic and modern industrial process of nixtamalization, and include interviews with local “nixtamalization experts,” millers and tortilla makers who have been practicing the art of nixtamalization for decades.

To view the video on the nixtamalization process, please click here.

To view the “nixtamalization expert” video, please click here.

Challenging our built-in gender bias

By Katrine Danielsen and Franz F. Wong, Gender Advisors with the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT)

In order to understand gender-based dimensions and differences in MAIZE and to leverage this knowledge so that interventions can better address gender-specific needs, MAIZE undertook a gender audit of its activities in 2013.

Danielsen and WongCarried out by researchers from KIT (a Dutch knowledge institute), the audit comprised surveys, documentation analysis, focus group discussions and more than 100 individual interviews involving a variety of organizations and program partners (including women and men farmers). The Gender Audit was based around four key questions: how is gender currently addressed and how can this be strengthened; the capacity of project teams to conduct gender-aware research; how different program functions affect gender integration; and how the CRP’s approach to gender is influenced by its understanding of what counts as ‘knowledge.’

The farming systems decalogue: Trade-offs at different scales


Pablo TitonellFarming communities re-shape the landscapes they depend on, with a potentially strong impact on the agro-ecosystem. Efforts to intensify cereal production must take account of the potential trade-offs, and the opportunities opened by an integrated systems approach. The ATTIC project proposes 10 principles for farm systems analysis.

By Pablo Titonell, Professor of Farming Systems, Wageningen University