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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your Excellency, God Brought You Here and Not Good Luck

If I Were President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria

I will rather do a single term of four years and leave the state house a hero than do a second term that will worsen the predicaments of majority of Nigerians.

He should not gamble with his luck. God brought him here and not any good luck.
God has done His best for him by bringing him all the way from the village of Otuoke, Bayelsa State, when he even had no shoes to become deputy governor and then governor of Bayelsa State and miraculously lifted higher to become Vice President and then head of state and President of the most powerful black nation on earth within 15 years. The first time anyone has ever achieved these feats in the history of both ancient and modern Nigeria.
God has done the best for him. Anything else will be sheer greed for power and vanity.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi",  Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, author of Children of Heaven, Scarlet Tears of London,The Language of True Love, Bye, Bye Zimbabwe, In the House of DogsThe Prophet LiedDiary of the Memory KeeperNOLLYWOOD MIRROR® and other books in print and electronic versions distributed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, Tower Books and other booksellers worldwide. He has been a former aide in the publicity department of the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur's Presidential Campaign in 1990 and now coordinating the Transform Nigeria Network in the social media.

Bestselling Books by Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi"




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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nigeria Would Have Collapsed Long Ago Without the Power Bloc of the Yorubas


 Chief Ọbáfẹ́mi Jeremiah Awólọ́wọ̀, GCFR (March 6, 1909 – May 9, 1987) remains the greatest Nigerian political leader since the Amalgamation of Northern Nigeria and Southern Nigeria in January 1914 and no wonder the Lion of Biafra, the great Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu (November 4, 1933 – November 26, 2011) called him the best President Nigeria never had. He knew that Nigeria would have become a greater nation if Chief Awólọ́wọ̀ had been head of state even for only four years. Awó as most people call him remains the first individual in the modern era to be named "Asiwaju Omo Oodua", Leader of the Yoruba race. He remains also the most prolific erudite political leader of Nigeria as the author of over 12 books and laid the foundation for the contemporary Yoruba nation. Scholars say he was Nigeria's foremost federalist and his "Path to Nigerian Freedom (1947) is the first systematic federalist manifesto by a Nigerian politician. President Goodluck would fare better if he takes time to read it.

If not for Awó's leadership of the Yorubas during the bloody internecine civil war, Nigeria would have lost to Biafra and in fact, Nigeria lost more soldiers in combat than Biafra. But thanks to the political leadership of Awó, he marshaled the country out of the economic and political imbroglio as Federal Commissioner for Finance and Vice-President of the Federal Executive Council of the Nigerian government. And he continued his heroic service to Nigeria even though he lost in presidential elections, because of political betrayal and corruption of the ruling oligarchy and western powers who were afraid of his socialist philosophy. The foundation of the economic and political leadership of Awó has made the Yorubas the most powerful political power bloc in the history of modern Nigeria.

The Yorubas have remained more faithful to the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria than the other tribes whose allegiance to the nation is for their selfish interests in the mineral resources and not in the unity of the federation. And the Hausa-Fulanis have always exploited the rivalry between the Yorubas and Igbos in the political leadership of Nigeria. They used the Yoruas against the Igbos during the civil war and then used the Igbos against the Yorubas during the transition to civil rule in 1979 when Alhaji Shehu Usman Aliyu Shagari, Turakin Sakkwato was elected as the President of Nigeria’s Second Republic (1979–1983) with thanks to Gen. Olusẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ, GCFR who never wanted Awó to become President of Nigeria. And in return, the Hausa Fulanis rewarded him by helping him to become President of Nigeria on May 29, 1999. But Obasanjo will never become the "Asiwaju Omo Oodua" of the Yorubas.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Without the Yourbas political power bloc, President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, GCFR, BNER, GCON, would not have won the presidential election on April 16, 2011, with 59% of the votes. Look at the picture of the final result, showing the states won by Gooodluck Jonathan (in green), Muhammad Buhari (red), and Nuhu Ribadu (blue). You can see that if the Yoruba states did not vote for President Jonathan, he would have lost to Buhari. And he won, because the ruling party and oligarchy made a deal with the new "Asiwaju" of the Yorubas, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).


 And as we approach the date for the next presidential election in 2015, the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is more scared than in 2011, because of the political metamorphosis of the political leadership of the Yorubas that led to the alliance of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a fraction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to form the All Progressives Congress (APC) on February 6, 2013, the biggest and largest opposition party in the political history of Nigeria and Africa. And made Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the most powerful opposition leader in Nigeria. And if he will not betray the APC, the party will win the presidential election in 2015. That is why the ruling party has been using all Machiavellian political tactics and tricks to sabotage the allegiance of the Yorubas to the APC, by using notable Yoruba leaders in the PDP and luring others from opposing parties to join forces with the PDP. And these political chameleons without conscience and without shame are willing tools and will sell their votes to the highest bidders in political bribery.

What of the Igbo political power bloc?
The Igbos don't have any credible political power bloc, because of their failure in the political leadership of Nigeria since the end of the civil war.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, P.C. (November 16, 1904 – May 11, 1996), the head of state of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966, the second and last Governor-General from 1960 to 1963 and the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966, holding the presidency throughout the Nigerian First Republic was the political leader of the Igbos before the military coup on January 15, 1966 led by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, (1937–1967). But he lost the leadership to Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who led the Igbo Republic of Biafra during the civil war. And both great men never liked each other. And since the transition of the great Lion of Biafra, Odumegwu Ojukwu, the Igbo political bloc is now fragmented due to political elite polarization and popular polarization of Igbos in contemporary political leadership in Nigeria with the collapse of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). And the widow of Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu has failed to maintain the leadership of their party. Therefore, politically the Igbos are like a sheep without a shepherd and will flock to wherever they can find greener pastures. The Igbos are their own worst enemies, because they have betrayed themselves more than any other tribe in the political leadership of Nigeria and that was why they lost the civil war and also lost to the Yorubas and are not even sure of ever winning a presidential election in Nigeria until when both the Hausas and Yorubas decide to permit them. Moreover, the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan has been using them in his political chess against both the Yorubas and Hausas and will do so again in the next presidential election in 2015.



~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi",  Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, author of Children of Heaven, Scarlet Tears of London,The Language of True Love, Bye, Bye Zimbabwe, In the House of DogsThe Prophet LiedDiary of the Memory KeeperNOLLYWOOD MIRROR® and other books in print and electronic versions distributed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, Tower Books and other booksellers worldwide. He has been a former aide in the publicity department of the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur's Presidential Campaign in 1990 and now coordinating the Transform Nigeria Network in the social media.
Bestselling Books by Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka "Orikinla Osinachi"


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Monday, October 20, 2014

IFC Helps HealthPlus Extend Reliable Pharmaceutical Services for Nigerians


 WASHINGTON, 17 October 2014 / PRN Africa / -- IFC a member of the World Bank Group, today announced an agreement with HealthPlus Limited and CasaBella International Limited to provide a $5million loan facility that will help the Companies expand pharmaceutical and personal care services in Nigeria.

 Bukky George at her HealthPlus pharmacy in Nigeria.


The project will support Nigeria's drive for delivery of quality

pharmaceutical and personal care products, create more jobs, and contribute towards the improvement of health and wellbeing in the Country.

Under the agreement, IFC will assist HealthPlus and CasaBella to establish a central distribution center in Lagos and expand their combined retail business network from 38 to 120 stores across Nigeria within the next 3 – 4 years.

Olubukunola (Bukky) George, Chief Executive Officer of HealthPlus Limited and CasaBella said, “At HealthPlus and CasaBella, our strongest drive is to help people achieve optimum health and vitality by providing quality

pharmaceutical and personal care products. Partnering with IFC will help us expand our reach and will give us access to global industry best practices.

With support from IFC and our other stakeholders, we will be able to achieve our vision of bringing quality health and wellbeing to more Nigerians.”

According to a World Bank health report, African health expenditure will keep growing rapidly, with the private sector playing a key role. The private sector will be the key player in the delivery of quality health and personal care services to the urban poor and rural dwellers.

German Vegarra, IFC Regional Industry Head said “As a partner to HealthPlus, IFC hopes to increase access to affordable quality health and personal care products, and foster industry best practices that will boost investor confidence in Nigeria's pharmaceutical and personal care sector.

By supporting HealthPlus and CasaBella, IFC is promoting a medium-sized enterprise that was founded by a woman entrepreneur and has become a household name in the country.

IFC supports the health sector to improve access to high quality healthcare services for people at lower and middle-income levels. By working with partners who are willing and able to bring best practices to health care and life sciences, IFC is promoting the growth of efficient and effective companies to generate an important public good in a sustainable way.

SOURCE International Finance Corporation (IFC)




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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Google Ads Are Getting Cheaper

Infographic: Google Ads Are Getting Cheaper | Statista
You will find more statistics at Statista



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Friday, October 17, 2014

The Africans: A Triple Heritage, the Legacy of Ali Mazrui

Ali Al'amin Mazrui (24 February 1933 – 13 October 2014).  


The Africans: A Triple Heritage, which was jointly produced by the BBC and the Public Broadcasting Service (WETA, Washington) in association with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and funded by the Annenberg/CPB Project. A book by the same title was jointly published by BBC Publications and Little, Brown and Company.

This is my memorial tribute to the great Professor Ali Mazrui, one of the greatest African scholars of all time and among those leading the vanguard of the revival of the African Renaissance.

Dr. Ali Mazrui, Institute of Global Cultural Studies Director and Albert Schweitzer Professor in Humanities at Binghamton University visits Fayetteville State University, North Carolina. Photo Credit: JSD Africa.

I have been following the intellectual life of Ali Mazrui since my first knowledge of him as the author of The Trial of Christopher Okigbo published in 1972. The allegory is a Kafkaesque narrative of the trial of Okigbo for abandoning his art to become one of the heroic sacrificial lambs of Biafra, the ill fated Igbo republic led by Lt. Col. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu ( November 4, 1933 – November 26, 2011) from May 30, 1967 to January 15, 1970 and caused the death of over 30,000 Nigerian soldiers and over 25,000 Biafran soldiers with over 1, 000, 000 million civilian casualties of largely children who were starved to death.

"Despite the seriousness of the questions there is something detached and playful about the novel. The story never gets bogged down in its arguments. It becomes its own best proof that important political questioning and art are not mutually exclusive. The Trial of Christopher Okigbo is a fine and unusual piece of fiction." 
 ~ George Davis, The New York Times Book Review, 17/9/1972. 

I love this book, because I am a fanatic of the great Christopher Okigbo, one of the first martyrs of the first Nigerian revolution, the 1966 Nigerian coup d'état led by Major Patrick Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu (1937–1967).
Okigbo died a hero fighting for Biafra at the war front of the civil war in 1967. He was only 35 years old


See the complete works of Ali Al'amin Mazrui.
 




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Fashola and other APC Governors Top Nominations for 30th Newswatch Person of the Year Awards



Fashola and other APC Governors Top Nominations for 30th Newswatch Person of the Year Awards

Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, the executive governor of Lagos State is leading the nominations for the Governor of the Year in the 30th Newswatch Person of the Year Awards with four nominations in four of the seven different categories. He is nominated for Governor of the Year ( Infrastructural Development ), Governor of the Year ( Internal Revenue ), Governor of the Year ( Health ) and Governor of the Year ( Internal Security ).

Most of the nominees are governors in the All Progressives Congress (APC) confirming their claim that they have been more efficient than the governors in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Only five PDP governors made the final list of 15 nominees.



Gov. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano)
Gov. Ibikunle Amo¬sun (Ogun)
Gov. Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom)
Gov. Abdu¬laziz Yari (Zamfara)
Gov. Abdul¬fa¬tah Ahmed (Kwara)
Gov. Oluse¬gun Mimiko (Ondo)
Gov. Adams Osh¬iomole (Edo)
Gov. Kashim Shet¬tima (Borno)
Gov. Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto)
Gov. Rauf Aregbesola (Osun)
Gov. Ibrahim Shema (Katsina)
Gov. Ibrahim Has¬san Dankwambo (Gombe)
Gov. Rochas Oko¬rocha (Imo)
Gov. Sule Lamido (Jigawa)

See the complete list of nominees and categories on http://www.newswatchdirect.com/personoftheyear



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Ibinabo Fiberesima Re-elected As President Of Actors Guild Of Nigeria


 Ms. Ibinabo Fiberesima, the first female President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and President and National Director of Miss Earth Nigeria has been re-elected for a second term as the President of the AGN.
She won by a landslide at the election held yesterday Thursday October 16, 2014.
The ex-beauty queen was returned for a second term in office after she was voted for by majority of the state chapters according to Nigeria Films.
http://www.nigeriafilms.com/news/29580/12/breaking-ibinabo-wins-agn-presidential-election-pi.html

She told me to pray for her victory Thursday morning and I did and when I asked her for the result, she gave me the good news.
"Won. Landslide victory," she said in her text message last night.

Congratulations to her and her team.
Ibinabo Fiberesima has big plans for Nigerian actors and the Nigerian film industry.
The IMAX Corporation is already expecting to welcome her in London where she is going to meet with Giovanni Dolci, Vice President, Theatre Development. Dolci is a digital cinema expert and was in Nigeria in July 2013 on the interests of IMAX to establish mega cinemas in the most populous country in Africa and home of Nollywood, the largest film industry in the continent.
See the report on http://www.nairaland.com/1348553/coming-giovanni-dolci-vice-president
She will visit the IMAX cinemas in London during her visit.
IMAX theater network has more than 837 theatres (IMAX, IMAX 3D and IMAX Dome) in more than 57 countries.

President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to the global film distribution of Nollywood movies, because of the popularity of Nigerian home videos in the world. He is the Grand Patron of the Actors Guild of Nigeria and has been lauded for his government's US$200 million Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund and with an extra N3 billion grant given to the Project Nollywood scheme to boost the Nigerian film industry. The fund has co-financed the production of Tony Abulu's "Doctor Bello" and Biyi Bandele's "Half of a Yellow Sun" and several filmmakers and others have benefited from the Project Nollywood grant.



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Thursday, October 16, 2014

What President Goodluck Jonathan Needs Most To Succeed




The news of the seven federal ministers who have just resigned so that they can compete in the coming elections in 2015 in pursuit of their selfish political ambitions is not bad news for the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan. And not a few people will even say good riddance to bad rubbish, because of the glaring incompetence of majority of these ministers who are political contractors and political opportunists.

The Ministers for Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, State Education, Nyesom Wike, Information, Labaran Maku, Labour, Emeka Wogu and State Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro have not impressed Nigerians. In fact, Mr. Maku is perhaps the most incompetent Minister of Information in the history of Nigeria and now he thinks he will make a good state governor?
See “Labaran Maku, Most Corrupt Federal Minister” – Presidency.
http://www.nairaland.com/1120803/labaran-maku-most-corrupt-federal

These incompetent ministers have been the problems of the cabinet of Mr. President. But if the President has incompetent ministers, that means his leadership is questionable.
"Leadership, not management, is the key to success", said Tom Hogan and Carol Broadbent at Crowded Ocean.

The failure of any administration is the failure of leadership.
The rest of the body moves in the direction of the head.

Paid PR agents, political sycophants and rented crowds of the Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria are desperate to sing the praises of President Goodluck Jonathan, because it is their job and not for patriotism.
They are not doing so, because they love him or to give him two thumbs up for his impressive leadership. They are all advertising agents paid for the political promos and public relations for Mr. President.
They are in fact, also victims of the systemic failure of governance in Nigeria. But they will pretend and lie that President Jonathan has brought good luck to Nigeria. But heaven knows these are the worst years in Nigeria since Independence.
What Nigerians need is not good luck and patience, but outstanding leadership driven by competence and not the eye service or lip service of the rented crowds and trains of shameless sycophants.
The best public relations is the endorsement of your leadership by the majority of the citizens of Nigeria who can vouch for your stewardship.
Not the bottom power and brown envelopes rock and rule in the corridors of power.

The only minister who has proved his competence above board is Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adesina Akinwumi who was named Forbes African of the Year in 2013 for his outstanding agricultural reforms in Nigeria. The guy is a genius.
The other outstanding minister is Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and like Dr. Akinwumi, her world class résumé is proof of her competence and she has been doing her best in the most challenging government in the history of Nigeria since the Nigerian civil war. Using these two examples as role models, President Goodluck Jonathan can appoint new competent ministers and not incompetent loyalists of the ruling party.

With the right ministers in his cabinet, President Goodluck Jonathan can correct all the mistakes made by the incompetent ministers and he can succeed without excuses. Moreover, he must make honesty his best policy and he should never say he doesn't given a damn. Saying so was an insult to the electorate whose mandate can still determine the leadership of Nigerian government even if you think you can rig to win elections.
The masses can out-rig you if they want to either by ballot or by riot.
The masses can always change the government by election or by popular revolution.



~ By  Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Author of Children of Heaven, Scarlet Tears of London,The Language of True Love, Bye, Bye Zimbabwe, In the House of DogsThe Prophet LiedDiary of the Memory KeeperNOLLYWOOD MIRROR® and other books in print and electronic versions distributed by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, Tower Books and other booksellers worldwide. He has been a former aide in the publicity department of the Alhaji Bamanga Tukur's Presidential Campaign in 1990 and now coordinating the Transform Nigeria Network in the social media.

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Africa will be Trading Predominantly with Partners From the South By 2020



 "I believe there is a deep sense that south-south should be the foundation for Africa."
~  Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director of UN Office for South-South Cooperation.

Africa will be Trading Predominantly with Partners From the South By 2020


MARRAKECH, Morocco, 16 October 2014, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Prior the economic crisis, Africa's share of trade with other emerging markets was a mere 30%. Today that has gone up to nearer 50%, and by 2020, on current trends that could be as much as 70%.

One of the themes at this year's African Development Forum, a UN ECA event, was new forms of partnership. The idea is to move away from development assistance and adapting to the realities of today. Global economic trends reflect the ongoing geopolitical and economic rebalancing in favour of developing and emerging economies, particularly Brazil, China and India, all of which call for stronger South-South partnerships.

At the opening the session, Inyang Ebong-Harstrup, Deputy Director of UN Office for South-South Cooperation said, "I believe there is a deep sense that south-south should be the foundation for Africa."

According to the ECA report, in Africa, for example, developing countries' exports and imports have increased in just 15 years from 26 to 43 per cent, and from 33 to 50 per cent respectively. Furthermore, foreign direct investment from the five emerging economies known as the BRICS countries - Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa - reached 25 per cent of total foreign direct investment in Africa in 2010 and continues to increase. There is, moreover, considerable scope to further strengthen Africa's engagement with its southern trade partners in ways that promote structural reform while avoiding the so-called "primary commodity trap" or a "race to the bottom" by countries seeking to attract foreign investment.

Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Founder and Executive Chair, Mandela Institute for Development Studies, South Africa, said, "We have to look within and act together. It is true that economic indicators show us that Africa is rising but it would be good to find correlation between indicators and activities. I believe, the world is excited about us because we have resources and we have our markets." He cautioned, "But we should not become a dumping ground for other peoples' goods"

Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi, Director of IDEP, seconded Dr Moyo's sentiments, "For too long our continent has been engaged in partnerships that are unfavourable to us. It's true that things are changing but we need to understand and learn to partner in such a manner that we do not lose out in our deals. I strongly believe that no one is going to come to Africa to develop us. We have to do it for ourselves."

On a positive note, Symerre Grey Johnson, NEPAD, pointed out that African countries were already coming together to form positive partnerships as in the case of Agricultural trust funds wherein the main contributions have come from Angola and Equatorial Guinea."

Speakers agreed that intra-trade among African countries is very low. Last year, it stood at 7 per cent. The level of intra-trade among African countries compares unfavorably with other regions of the world. Intra-trade among the EU-27 is around 70 per cent, 52 per cent for Asian countries, 50 per cent for North American countries and 26 per cent for South American countries.

Ebong-Harstrup stressed that for a strong foundation in partnerships it is essential to have constructive partnerships within the continent. She said, "We can't grow without trade between African countries? Why didn't the three African countries got together to deal with Ebola? We need to finance our development without looking to the North."

The ECA advises that new partnerships must also take into account the increasing complexity of development finance. New actors have emerged, including development partners from the global South and private philanthropic foundations, and innovative assistance modalities. While traditional donors still tend to allocate most of their aid budgets to initiatives promoting social development, southern development partners tend to focus on infrastructure projects and productive sectors.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of UNECA
.

For further information or for any interviews, please email press@adf9.org

Notes to Editors

The ADF Forum is a flagship biennial event of the Economic Commission for Africa, and offers a multi-stakeholder platform for debating, discussing and initiating concrete strategies for Africa's development. The Forum looks to establishing an African-driven development agenda that reflects consensus and leads to specific programmes for implementation.

This year's theme is Innovative Financing for Africa's Transformation, focusing on the below topics.

(a) Domestic resource mobilization;

(b) Illicit financial flows;

(c) Private equity;

(d) New forms of partnerships;

(e) Issues in climate financing.



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Africa - Nutrition: New Study Finds that Orange Maize Improves Vitamin A in Children





PRESS RELEASE


New Study Finds that Orange Maize Improves Vitamin A in Children



Vitamin A deficiency is widely prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa

LUSAKA, Zambia, October 16, 2014/ -- Just ahead of World Food Day, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (http://goo.gl/AwrAkl) has established that ‘orange’ vitamin A maize increases vitamin A storage in the body. This maize has been conventionally bred (non-GMO) to have higher levels of beta-carotene, a naturally occurring plant pigment that the body then converts into vitamin A.




Lack of sufficient vitamin A blinds up to 500,000 children annually and increases the risk of death from disease (such as diarrhea in children). Vitamin A deficiency is widely prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. Foods that are good sources of vitamin A, such as orange fruits, dark leafy vegetables, or meat, are not always available, or may be too expensive in some regions. In many African countries, people eat large amounts of staple foods like cassava or maize. For example, in Zambia, people eat up to a pound of white maize daily. However, this white maize provides no beta-carotene. Switching to orange maize, which is rich in beta-carotene, could potentially provide maize-dependent populations with up to half their daily vitamin A needs.

In this controlled efficacy study, children from the Eastern Province of Zambia were randomly assigned to three feeding groups and received either white maize, orange maize, or a daily vitamin A supplement. After three months, both groups that received either the orange maize or vitamin A supplements showed significant increases in their total body stores of vitamin A, with no changes observed in the group that received white maize.

Lead scientist Sherry Tanumihardjo said “we were surprised to find that most of the children in this study already had substantial stores of vitamin A. We attribute this to the success of fortifying sugar with vitamin A, the provision of vitamin A supplements to young children, and perhaps better diets.  Yet, despite having adequate vitamin A stores, we still saw this store increase in children as a result of eating the orange maize.  So, I'm confident that orange maize would be especially effective in increasing body stores of vitamin A in populations suffering from vitamin A deficiency.” Unlike the form of vitamin A found in supplements and fortified foods, the body regulates conversion of beta-carotene into vitamin A, and consuming high levels of beta-carotene is not harmful to health. 

Several orange maize varieties have been released by the governments of Zambia and Nigeria. In Zambia, HarvestPlus (http://www.harvestplus.org) has provided orange maize to more than 10,000 farming households and is now working with the private sector with the goal of reaching 100,000 famers by 2015. According to Eliab Simpungwe, HarvestPlus Country Manager for Zambia, “the orange maize has been embraced by consumers once they have had a chance to taste it. When they also understand the benefits of vitamin A in the diets they are all the more enthusiastic about orange maize.”  The orange maize varieties released are also high yielding, disease and virus resistant, and drought tolerant.

The Zambian Government has officially recognized biofortification, which it includes in the National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan for Zambia 2011-2015. Musonda Mofu, Acting Executive Director of the National Food and Nutrition Commission in Zambia and who was also on the study team, said “there are still many pockets where vitamin A deficiency remains a problem in Zambia. Food-based approaches such as orange maize can provide people—especially women and children—with a good portion of their daily vitamin A needs through nshima or other traditional foods made from maize, that we Zambians eat every day. For us, this is cost-effective and a safe approach to improving nutrition."

HarvestPlus and its partners have developed and disseminated other conventionally bred crops to provide needed vitamins and minerals in the diet.  These are vitamin A cassava (Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria), vitamin A orange sweet potato (throughout Sub-Saharan Africa) and iron beans (Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda).  Zinc wheat and rice and iron pearl millet have been targeted to South Asia.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of HarvestPlus.


Media Contacts: 
Vidushi Sinha, HarvestPlus. Washington DC. v.s.vidushi@cgiar.org Tel: +1 703-505-7438
Eliab Simpungwe, HarvestPlus, Zambia e.simpungwe@cgiar.org  Tel: +260974214152

Journal Article Reference:
Biofortified orange maize is as efficacious as a vitamin A supplement in Zambian children even in the presence of high liver reserves of vitamin A: a community-based, randomized placebo-controlled trial (http://goo.gl/Kqj54y),
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition;  December 2014 ajcn.087379; First published online October 8, 2014. doi:10.3945/ajcn.114.08737.

Related Research: 
- Vitamin A equivalence of the β-carotene in β-carotene–biofortified maize porridge consumed by women: http://goo.gl/pOI4jY
- Food-Based Approaches for Ensuring Adequate Vitamin A Nutrition:http://goo.gl/celuOr

Photos:  Orange vitamin A maize: http://goo.gl/LbswKD

More About Vitamin A Maize
Maize is the third most important cereal food in the world, and is a staple food for more than one billion people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. It is high in carbohydrates but lacks essential micronutrients such as vitamin A. Maize exhibits tremendous genetic diversity, and there are many types with high levels of beta-carotene, a naturally occurring plant pigment that is converted by the body into vitamin A when the maize is eaten. This genetic diversity has been used to conventionally breed new varieties of maize that are high-yielding and also rich in vitamin A. HarvestPlus has partnered with many institutions to develop and test orange maize, including the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) (http://www.cimmyt.org/en), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) (http://www.iita.org), Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI) (http://goo.gl/NCgy4y) and Purdue University.

More about HarvestPlus
HarvestPlus (http://www.harvestplus.org) leads a global effort to improve nutrition and public health by developing and deploying staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals. These are cassava, maize, and orange sweet potato that provide more vitamin A; beans and pearl millet that provide more iron; and rice and wheat that provide more zinc. We work with public and private sector partners in more than 40 countries. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health. CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by its 15 research centers in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. The HarvestPlus program is coordinated by two of these centers – the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) (http://ciat.cgiar.org) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) (http://www.ifpri.org). 

SOURCE 
HarvestPlus





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