A new zinc-enriched maize hybrid developed for Colombia by
HarvestPlus with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
and the CGIAR Research Program on Maize (MAIZE) will provide added nutrition
and financial security to rural farming families in the coffee-growing region
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.
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.