On Thursday, the 2nd of September, 2021 Malawi launched the Scaling Up Nutrition 3.0 (SUN 3.0) movement under the theme, ‘Together we can end all forms of malnutrition for sustainable wellbeing and economic development’.
In his speech, the President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr Lazarus Chakwera said, “we need to have courage to have a diversified diet that includes biofortified food crops like cassava, sweet potatoes, and orange maize.”
“The bottom line is this, we need to find courage as a nation, to face the painful truth about nsima (thick porridge made from maize). That painful truth is that we have become over-dependent on it. That painful truth is that we need to diversify our daily diet by including foods like biofortified cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, and the like,” he said.
He further said he was privileged to have visited HarvestPlus booth, at which through their discussion, Fanny Gondwe- Founder of Perisha Agro- persuaded Dr. Chakwera to reinforce the Agriculture Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) to start buying orange maize as it does with white maize.
“It will be good for ADMARC to start buying orange maize alongside white maize which will help to commercialize production and consumption of these biofortified food crops,” she said.
The SUN 3.0 energizes Malawians to recover losses and address new forms of malnutrition like zinc deficiency.
Biofortified food consumption has helped in the reduction of vitamin A deficiency from 22 percent to 3.6 percent in 2020, and it is believed to be a key to the ending of micronutrient deficiencies of various kinds, such as iron and zinc deficiency, which can be dealt with by consuming biofortified beans.
Gerda Verburg, the coordinator for SUN 3.0 in Netherlands, and other Malawian Ministers also graced the ‘Biofortification’ booth, and were impressed with the work of HarvestPlus through the SMEs it sponsors.
HarvestPlus Malawi commenced operations in 2016 with the aim of promoting the production, dissemination, and consumption of improved, climate smart, and nutritious biofortified staple crop varieties. HarvestPlus developed strategic agricultural value chains to ensure a sustainable and profitable supply of biofortified foods to smallholder farming households and non-farm consumers. This transformative agriculture intervention aligns various market actors to sustainably and profitably produce more nutritious foods. Currently, nearly 70,000 smallholder farming families are growing vitamin A maize.