Maize Alternatives

The United Nation’s World Food Programme (WPF) carried out a nine-month study in an effort to find possible solutions to the precarious food situation in Malawi.

The southern African country has always depended on maize as its main source of nourishment. The worst shortage in a decade, blamed on AMDRAC’s (the state grain marketer) failure to effectively deliver subsidised maize and fertilizer, could result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies, inhibited mental development, compromised immune systems and birth defects and could affect the working capacity of adults.

The WPF suggested ways of resolving the health and economic problems caused by the maize shortage. Communities, schools, health centers and households could be encouraged to grow alternative crops or they could be educated about nutrition and preparing alternative foods to improve diets.

The recommended solutions to the findings have resulted in a manual, ‘Low-Input Food and Nutrition Security: Growing and Eating More Using Less’, which has become part of the UN agency’s diet diversification program and will be implemented in all of Malawi’s schools.

Source: IRIN

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