Business

Commercial millers cardinal to promote bio-fortified PVA

ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
AGRIBUSINESS Systems International (ASI) says there is need to target commercial millers as market catalysts to create consumer demand for bio-fortified pro-vitamin A (PVA) mealie-meal.
This will ensure that the AgResults Zambia bio-fortified maize pilot project is successfully implemented.
ASI, an affiliate of Agricultural Cooperative Development International and Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA) serves as the pilot manager for the AgResults Zambia bio-fortified maize pilot that uses a pull mechanism to increase consumption of PVA maize to combat vitamin A deficiency.
In Zambia, research indicates that vitamin A deficiency rates are as high as 31 percent in children and 21 percent in women.
According to a statement obtained by the Daily Mail recently, the five-year project will incentivise millers to buy PVA maize meal from commercial and emerging farmers, then market and sell to consumers by awarding the millers up to US$2.3 million in performance-based grants.
The statement says by working with millers, the pilot project will help stimulate production of over 60,000 metric tonnes of bio-fortified PVA maize meal and provide about 24 percent of the average daily requirement of vitamin A.
“Instead of directly supporting farmers, ASI fosters sustainable vitalisation of the entire supply chain by incentivising commercial millers to source and convert bio-fortified pro-vitamin A maize into PVA food products, such as breakfast meal.”
“Like the well-known X Prizes[ a highly leveraged, incentivised prize competition that pushes the limits of what’s possible to change the world for the better], AgResults fosters private sector-led innovation by rewarding successful models that meet commercial and development successes,” it says.

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