VOL 2 NO 14_2018: Pathways for Improved Nutrition in Zambia: Lessons from Pro-Vitamin A rich Maize Innovation Platform

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The high prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency in Zambian population, particularly among the young children of rural areas, has been a consistent phenomenon in the country for a while. In response to this, several government’s policies have, since 1998, been formulated to promote increased intake of the vitamin while encouraging healthy food intake. This policy resulted in the establishment of National Pro- Vitamin A Orange Maize Steering Committee (NPASC), an Innovation Platform (IP) formed in 2010 to promote bio-fortification of maize following. Complimentary measures of addressing Vitamin A deficiency among the Zambian population include: (i) Fortification of processed cane sugar; (ii) Production and consumption of orange maize (Pro-vitamin A maize); (iii) Administration of “high” dosage of Vitamin A (medical treatment); (iv) Breeding and production of orange-fleshed sweet potatoes; and (v) Breeding and production of yellow-fleshed cassava roots. This paper discusses the key components of the technical and institutional innovations developed to address this food and nutrition security concern in Zambia using locally bred varieties registered with the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI). The institutional collaborations arising from this IP has brought together various organizations/institutions in the innovation process and led to the capture of up to 5% of the market share. With Zambia being the only Country among its neighbours and other nearby countries in the Region, recording bumper maize harvest in subsequent Agricultural Season, surplus orange maize would be expected to disseminate further in the region.

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