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Monday, 23 March 2020 07:56

Bio-fortified crop varieties improve nutrition status of families in NB

Written by  Luzily Chiponde
A beneficiary household, pic by Luzily Chiponde - Mana A beneficiary household, pic by Luzily Chiponde - Mana

Nkhata Bay, March 23, 2020: Household beneficiaries of Afikepo and Kulima Project in Chikwina -Mpamba area in Nkhata Bay have testified that bio-fortified crop growing program has improved nutritional status of their children.
                  
According to one of the lead farmers working with Kulima and Afikepo Program at Chikwina-Mpamba, Kellie Nthali, bio-fortified crops have reduced nutritional deficiency in the children.

“In the past, we used to give our children anything so long as it is edible because we had no knowledge of nutritional values in different foods,’’ Nthali told council officials who had made field visit to the area on Tuesday.

Nthali further explained that products made out of bio-fortified crops have proved to have high nutritional value as indicated by changes in the health and physical strength of the children.

‘’We used to have malnourished children, but after acquiring knowledge in bio-fortified crops, the health of our children has improved,’’ he said.

In her remarks, District Coordinator for Afikepo/Kulima Project in Nkhata Bay, Memory Nyemba said bio-fortified crops have more advantages than other crops.

‘’Bio-fortified crops such as orange maize and orange sweet potatoes have multiple benefits. They produce higher yield, are resistant to diseases and also drought tolerant, ’’said Nyemba.

Nkhata Bay Rural Development Project Food and Nutritional Officer, Malani Hauli said bio-fortified products are not only nutritious but also have health benefits.

“Bio-fortified products have higher levels of vitamin A which help in prevention of diseases,” said Hauli.

Besides promoting bio-fortified crop varieties, Afikepo/ Kulima project also promotes diversified intake of safe and nutritious foods to achieve optimal nutrition in under-five children, pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescents.

The Afikepo and Kulima 5-year complementary programs, funded by the European Union, aim at achieving improved agricultural productivity, and food and nutrition security with assistance from Food Agriculture Organization and UNICEF.