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Crop Biotech Update

IITA releases Vitamin A-enriched Maize in Nigeria

August 3, 2012

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has released two new maize varieties in Nigeria that contain high levels of beta-carotene – the precursor of vitamin A – offering hope against the menace of vitamin A deficiency which plagues millions of people in the country.

The hybrids, which are the first generation provitamin A-rich maize, were released on July 4, 2012 by Nigeria's National Variety Release Committee as Ife maizehyb 3 and Ife maizehyb 4. They are recognized as IITA hybrids A0905-28 and A0905-32, respectively.

According to Dr. Abebe Menkir, IITA's maize breeder, the hybrids are product of nearly a decade of targeted breeding for enhanced level of provitamin A. He added that apart from being nutritious, the maize hybrids are also high yielding, producing 6 to 9 tons of the crop per hectare. In Nigeria, local maize varieties commonly grown by farmers produce only about 2 tons per hectare.

See CGIAR's news release at