Nigeria releases Vitamin A maize

The Nigerian Government has released two new maize hybrids that can provide more vitamin A in the diets of millions in the country.

Vitamin A deficiency is prevalent in Nigeria, especially among children, pregnant women, and mothers. It lowers immunity and impairs vision, which can lead to blindness and even death.

The hybrids, which are the first generation vitamin A-rich maize, were released by the National Variety Release Committee of Nigeria as Ife maizehyb 3 and Ife maizehyb 4. They are recognized as IITA hybrids A0905-28 and A0905-32, respectively.

The hybrids are a product of nearly a decade of breeding for enhanced levels of pro-vitamin A. Provitamin A is converted by the body into vitamin A when the maize is eaten.

The hybrids were developed by IITA with the Institute of Agricultural Research & Training (IAR&T) using conventional breeding in a project funded by HarvestPlus—a Challenge Program of the CGIAR as part of strategies to address the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency.

Other collaborating partners include the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR), Zaria; University of Maiduguri; International Maize and Wheat Center (CIMMYT), University of Illinois, and University of Wisconsin.