Maize (corn) is the third-most important cereal crop for direct consumption (after rice and wheat), and is one of the most popular staple crops in Ethiopia. Yet conventional maize alone “cannot provide all the nutrients needed for a healthy diet.” In fact, when household diets are heavily dependent on maize and lack variety, childhood growth is often stunted and malnutrition is a persistent problem (CIMMYT, 2010).
To address this issue the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) used conventional crop improvement methods to develop a variety of maize that offers a complete protein to the children and livestock that eat it. Called “quality protein maize” (QPM), this non-transgenic bio-fortified cereal has been proven to reduce problems of stunted growth and malnutrition among children. With funding from CIDA, CIMMYT is implementing a major 5-year initiative in Ethiopia designed to help maize farmers learn about and produce this high-protein food crop to enrich their household diets.
CIMMYT has invited Farm Radio International to contribute to the success of this project by working with Ethiopian radio stations to develop programs in maize-growing regions about nutrition, the benefits of a diversified diet, and the option of growing QPM on their farms.
For more information please see: http://apps.cimmyt.org/english/wps/news/2010/apr/kernels-qpm.htm