Vitamin A “orange” maize (corn) received executive attention at the recent 3rd Agritech Expo in Zambia. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu stopped by the HarvestPlus stall to learn more about this nutritious maize variety. He also got to take back to State House—the official presidential residence—a basketful of orange maize products, including mealie meal (flour) and samp (hominy).
HarvestPlus was among 160 exhibitors at the expo, one of the largest and most popular outdoor agricultural events in the southern Africa region showcasing the latest farming technologies and innovations. The event attracted more than 17,000 visitors.
President Lungu requested more orange maize for the State House kitchen. He also encouraged increased production and consumption of orange maize by Zambians. Accompanying the President at Agritech was Minister of Agriculture Given Lubinda, who last year launched commercial sales of orange maize. There are currently more than 100,000 Zambian farming households growing and eating orange maize. HarvestPlus expects that at least 600,000 households will have adopted the crop by 2020.
Besides the President and his entourage, nearly 2,000 other people visited the HarvestPlus stall. Visitors were able to buy orange maize seed from HarvestPlus’ partners Zamseed and Kamano, and mealie meal and maize grit from Star Milling. Hundreds of visitors also savored a taste of orange maize provided by HarvestPlus and prepared in various forms popular locally—on the cob, nshima (traditional bread), and samp.
The Agritech Expo is organized by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), and takes place annually.