by Carolyn Cowan
Biofortification is at the forefront of efforts to address hidden hunger, the consumption of a sufficient number of calories, but still lacking essential nutrients such as vitamin A, iron or zinc. Biofortification increases the amount of vitamins and minerals in a crop through conventional plant breeding or agronomic practices, and can generate measurable health and nutrition improvements in consumer populations. Researchers from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have recently published two studies that comprehensively review current breeding strategies for biofortification of maize with zinc and provitamin A that provide a working outline for maize breeders. The provitamin A study was developed with researchers from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal
Several new high-yield maize varieties have been introduced for commercial use in Pakistan this past week, lauded as the “first ever type of maize innovation in Pakistan,” according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Maize Improvement and Seed System Specialist, Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir. The varieties, which were developed by CIMMYT, can yield as much as 10 tons per hectare.
A woman in Bangladesh grinds maize to prepare food for her family
Maize agronomists from Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan jointly published a study examining the outlook for maize in their respective countries. The study, “Assessment of the Maize Situation, Outlook and Opportunities in Asia,” by Ranjit Kumar, K. Srinivas, M.A. Monayem Miah, Hassnain Shah, Hadijah A. Dahlan and Huanguang Qiu, was published in the extended summaries compilation for the Asia Maize Conference and Expert Consultation: “Maize for Feed, Nutrition and Environmental Security.”