The AgResults Zambia Biofortified Maize Pilot aims to combat vitamin A deficiency within Zambia through the consumption of nutrient-rich, biofortified ProVitamin A (PVA) maize. Vitamin A deficiency causes up to 250,000 child deaths annually across Africa and is prevalent within Zambia, with deficiency rates as high as 31% in children and 21% in women in some areas. In order to accomplish the large-scale distribution of PVA maize and combat vitamin A deficiency across the country, the Zambia Pilot targets commercial millers and provides cash-prize incentives as pull mechanisms to those achieving certain sales thresholds of the maize meal to consumers.
AgResults stakeholders, along with HarvestPlus, recently organized stands at the annual Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show to market PVA maize and promote the first commercial sales of the product. This year marked the 89th Agricultural and Commercial Show. Organized by the Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia (ACSZ), the event was held in Lusaka from July 29 - August 3. This year’s Show featured 80 foreign exhibiters, in addition to a wide range of participants from around Zambia.
During the Agricultural and Commercial Show, the AgResults Zambia Pilot team had the unique opportunity to promote PVA maize, network with stakeholders within the agriculture sector, and discuss the Zambia Pilot with a broad audience. Kasashi Ngóna, the Team Technical Officer, ran a table at the Agriculture and Commercial Show displaying PVA maize and pilot materials, while Team Leader, Chitundu Kasase, appeared on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) show, National Watch, to discuss food security and nutrition.
Over the course of the Agriculture and Commercial Show, the team explained the importance of utilizing biofortified maize, and its numerous nutritional benefits, as well as the significance of pull mechanisms in catalyzing market-based solutions to nutritional deficiencies within Zambia.
Currently amidst Year 1 of the pilot, AgResults is looking to initiate mass consumer acceptance of PVA maize through marketing and sales efforts of participating millers. By Year 4, the pilot is expected to produce 60,000 metric tons of PVA maize for consumption across Zambia. Consumers of the biofortified maize products will receive an additional 124μg of vitamin A per day, 24% of their average requirement.