Communities in NkhataBay have commended Afikepo and Kulima Project on bio-fortified crops for improving the nutritional status of their children.
Speaking during NkhataBay District Council field visit to Chikwina-Mpamba area, lead farmer Kellie Nthali, claimed bio-fortified crops have reduced nutritional deficiency in children.
“In the past, we used to give our children anything so long as it is edible because we had no knowledge of nutritional values in different foods,’’ Nthali said.
Nthali further explained that products made out of bio-fortified crops have proved to have high nutritional value as indicated by changes in the health and physical strength of the children.
“We used to have malnourished children, but after acquiring knowledge in bio-fortified crops, the health of our children has improved,’’ he said.
NkhataBay District Coordinator for Afikepo/Kulima Project cordinator, Memory Nyemba said bio-fortified crops have more advantages.
She said: “Bio-fortified crops such as orange maize and orange sweet potatoes have multiple benefits.
“They produce higher yield, are resistant to diseases and also drought tolerant.”
Nkhata Bay rural development project food and nutritional officer, Malani Hauli said bio-fortified products are not only nutritious but also have health benefits.
“Bio-fortified products have higher levels of vitamin A which help in prevention of diseases,” said Hauli.
Besides promoting bio-fortified crop varieties, Afikepo/ Kulima project also promotes diversified intake of safe and nutritious foods to achieve optimal nutrition in under-five children, pregnant women, lactating mothers and adolescents.
The Afikepo and Kulima 5-year complementary programs, funded by the European Union, aim at achieving improved agricultural productivity, and food and nutrition security with assistance from Food Agriculture Organization and UNICEF.