Better together: Partnership around zinc maize improves nutrition in Guatemala

More than 40 percent of Guatemala’s rural population is deficient in zinc, an essential micronutrient that plays a crucial role in pre-natal and post-natal development and is key to maintaining a healthy immune system. CIMMYT, HarvestPlus and Semilla Nueva are working together to change this, through the development and deployment of the world’s first biofortified zinc-enriched maize.

Biofortified maize is a unique and efficient way of improving nutrition. As the nutrients occur naturally in the plant, consumers do not have to make any behavioral changes to get results. Rather than having to import supplements or fortify food, seeds and crops are sourced within the country, which makes this option more sustainable and accessible even in remote rural areas. It tastes the same as non-biofortified maize varieties and requires no special preparation methods. This made biofortification the obvious choice for improving zinc deficiency in Guatemala, and CIMMYT the obvious partner.