by Natasha Nagarajan
Initiative in Zambian refugee camp helps farmers cultivate vitamin A maize to help move towards a healthier diet and foster local business
Vitamin A-biofortified orange maize, developed by the
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in partnership with
HarvestPlus, is now helping refugees in Zambia cultivate a nutritious diet and improve
by Natasha Nagarajan
HarvestPlus program supports local farmers and boosts nutrition through improved maize
Zimbabwean farmer Steven
Seremwe is one of about 250,000 farmers who have benefited from biofortified vitamin
A maize through the Zimbabwe Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP).
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.
Research has shown that compared to other packaging and storage facilities, polyvinyl plastic containers (PPC) and dark compartment storage have the highest retention of Pro-vitamin A carotenoid (pVAC) and xanthophylls in yellow-seeded maize.
Pro-vitamin A carotenoid (pVAC) foods contribute to the reduction of
vitamin A deficiency diseases within the human body. Yellow-seeded maize
flour, being a pVAC-rich food, needs the right packaging materials and
storage conditions that retain pVAC as it is essential for health