The Government of Zambia is supporting a campaign to replace the traditional white maize with orange maize developed by HarvestPlus and its partners. Maize is a staple food in Zambia and the more nutritious orange variety provides consumers with vitamin A. More than half of all Zambian children aged under five are vitamin A deficient, and face increased risk of preventable blindness, disease and death from severe infections.
To ensure that orange maize is available locally to nourish Zambians, the government has banned its export. Orange maize has also been included under the government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which subsidizes farmers’ access to seeds.
The government is encouraging farmers, millers, and seed companies to champion orange maize and get more people to switch from the white to the orange variety. Those efforts are paying off; more and more Zambians are adopting orange maize and HarvestPlus expects that at least 500,000 farming households in the country will be growing the crop by 2020. Here is Risper Masondemtonga, a farmer and a mother of three, who has her eyes set on orange maize.