On April 28, the AgResults Zambia Biofortified Maize Pilot team exhibited various provitamin A (PVA) maize meal products and seed hybrids at the Agritech Expo held at Golden Valley Agricultural Research (GART) in Chisamba, a small town about 60 kilometres north of Lusaka, Zambia. The expo was officially opened by the President of Zambia, His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and was well attended by senior government officials, representatives from the agriculture sector – both private and public—as well as consumers and farmers.
As part of the event, AgResults partnered with HarvestPlus to host a joint PVA Maize booth. AgResults millers, Star Milling and Musanza Milling, and seed company Kamano Seeds showcased and sold their products at the booth. In addition to AgResults offerings, HarvestPlus exhibited demo plots for PVA maize seed varieties.
During the event, His Excellency, Mr. Lungu visited the booth to learn about AgResults and the benefits of PVA maize. Mr. Lungu was joined by four cabinet ministers: the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dora Siliya, the Minister of Commerce, Trade, and Industry, Hon. Margaret Mhango Mwanakatwe, the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Hon. Freedom Sikazwe, and the Minister of Central Province, Hon. Sydney Mushanga. The President expressed how orange maize nshima – a staple dish made of PVA maize meal and water – is served at the Zambia State House and is well received by the President and his staff. The AgResults team presented the President and the ministers in his entourage with a basket of PVA maize meal products including grits and mealie meal.
Government support of PVA maize continues to be crucial to the success of the Zambia Biofortified Maize Pilot. For instance, the orange maize, biofortified with vitamin A, has yet to be included in the Food Reserve Agency’s (FRA) strategic food reserves. This limits access to PVA maize by millers who then cannot mill and sell the milled orange maize to the wider public.