by Jennifer Johnson
On World Food Day, October 16, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) joins the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and partners around the world in their call to realize Sustainable Development Goal 2: Zero Hunger by 2030. Learn how CIMMYT, HarvestPlus and Semilla Nueva are working together to use biofortified zinc-enriched maize to reduce malnutrition in Guatemala, an important component of Goal 2.
46 percent of children under five in Guatemala suffer from chronic
malnutrition. More than 40 percent of the country’s rural population is
deficient in zinc, an essential micronutrient that plays a crucial role
in pre-natal and post-natal development and is key to maintaining a
healthy immune system. CIMMYT, HarvestPlus and Semilla Nueva are working
together to change this, through the development and deployment of the
world’s first biofortified zinc-enriched maize.
by Carolyn Cowan
The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) maize germplasm bank recently received an award in recognition of its contributions towards the Buena Milpa initiative
CIMMYT maize germplasm bank staff preparing the order for the repatriation of Guatemalan seed varieties. Photo: CIMMYT
in Guatemala, which aims to enhance the sustainability of maize systems in the country. Denise Costich, head of the maize germplasm bank, received the award on behalf of CIMMYT during the event ‘Maize of Guatemala: Repatriation, Conservation and Sustainable use of Agro-biodiversity,’ held on September 7 2018, in Guatemala City.
By Jennifer Johnson
Tortillas made of zinc-enriched biofortified maize. Photo: HarvestPlus.
The first zinc-enriched maize varieties developed specifically for farmers in Guatemala were released this month as part of efforts to improve food and nutrition security in a country where over 46 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Guatemalan landrace maize hung up to dry. Photo: Denise Costich
Guatemala forms part of the center of origin of maize, and is home to a large amount of the staple crop’s genetic diversity. Smallholder farmers are the guardians of much of this diversity in the form of landraces, native maize varieties passed down through generations that are prized for their flavor and use in traditional dishes. These landraces are gaining interest in the culinary community, and many chefs are willing to pay more for traditional maize varieties. A recent study from scientists working with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) investigated whether facilitating the emergence of niche markets for local maize varieties in the western highlands of Guatemala could contribute to poverty reduction.