P8 Successful Reintroduction of Landrace Orange Maize in Rural Malawi is not Dependent on Understanding Nutritional Advantages


      Orange maize, rich in carotenoids, is a possible sustainable solution for combating Vitamin A deficiency and reducing dependence on fortification. The ProFarmer project in Malawi has successfully re-introduced landrace orange maize (MW5021) to replace or complement white hybrid varieties in over 2000 farms.


      This study was designed to determine the acceptability of foods made with orange maize in children and to assess the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors (KAB) of women in farming families that currently grow orange maize.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Organoleptic evaluation of white and orange maize food products was carried out in school age children (n=160) of ProFarmer families living in the Dedza and Thyolo Districts. Additionally, a cross sectional study was completed in female household members (n=336) living on farms that produce orange maize. Participants were interviewed regarding reintroduction of orange maize and diet quality was assessed.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Acceptability of orange maize food products was determined using a 7-point hedonic scale. Women's responses to questionnaires were used to determine nutritional knowledge regarding orange maize. A Minimum Dietary Diversity questionnaire (MDD-W) evaluated diet adequacy. Independent t tests and Chi square tests were performed where appropriate.


      Organoleptic testing of orange maize porridges by children indicated high levels of acceptance. Survey results showed positive attitudes towards the orange maize with 75-85% of households consuming the product. However, only 32% of the women understood its nutritional benefits. Dietary Diversity scores, a proxy for nutrient adequacy, were low with only 34% of women consuming a sufficiently diverse diet.


      Despite low levels of nutritional knowledge, landrace orange maize is well accepted by both children and adults in rural Malawi and is an option for increasing dietary sources of provitamin A. Nutrition education emphasizing the advantages of eating carotenoid-rich foods and expanding diet diversity are recommended.
      Funding: Pears Foundation, UK; The International School of Agricultural Sciences - Hebrew University

      Appendix. Supplementary data