By KAWAMA SANGA
Juliet Ngandu, a small scale farmer in Kasama district from Northern Province, has called on government to enhance the promotion of orange maize which is rich in vitamin A in order to eliminate diseases caused by the deficiency of the vitamin in the country.
Mrs. Ngandu said government should put up sensitization programmess across the country to teach people who are not aware of the health benefits of orange maize in order to improve the health status of people in the country.
“Government should spread the orange maize mealie meal as well at the seeds to all part of the country and not just concentrate on one area so that everyone can consume the maize,” she said.
Mrs Ngandu has bemoaned the increased number of people having eye problems and laziness among pupils in schools countrywide which she attributed to the lack of vitamin A.
And another farmer from Northern Province, Joseph Mwandi has advised fellow farmers to consume the orange maize because of its nutritional value.
Mr. Mwandi said that because of the past experience, people think yellow and orange maize are the same but the two breeds are different in taste as well as colour.
“In as much as orange maize and yellow maize have the same nutritional value, orange maize contains more vitamin A as compared to yellow maize” he explained.
And HarvestPlus Emilia Banda emphasized that orange maize is genetically modified organisms (GMO) free and that Zambians as well as farmers should not be afraid to consume it in order to reduce cases related to vitamin a deficiency.
“Most products in the country that contain vitamin A such as fruits, vegetables and animal products such as liver are expensive and not everyone can afford”, She lamented “but everyone affords to eat nshima that is why government should promote orange maize mealie meal”said Ms Banda.
She has further advised seed providing companies to spread and distribute the seed to all parts of the country so that people country wide can have the orange maize at their disposal.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Chief Food and Nutrition Officer Caren, Mukuka under the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, says the majority of Zambians children suffer from vitamin A deficiency
Mrs. Mukuka said that most women in the child bearing age have also been on record of suffering from the deficiency, hence the need for Zambians to consume orange maize products.
She also emphasized that Zambians should not fear to consume orange maize because of their past experience with yellow maize as the two different in the caritonite they contain”
“Orange maize contains a caretonite that easily transforms in to vitamin a while the carotene in yellow maize does not easily transform in to vitamin A” she explained
Mrs. Mukuka advised that vitamin A is good because it prevents blindness, keeps the brain aware and alert all the time, helps in enhancing the reproductive system as well as boosting the immune system to prevent.-NAIS