Two new maize/corn hybrids that provide more vitamin A have been introduced in Nigeria this month after the government approved the release.

The hybrids produce provitamin A, which is converted by the body into vitamin A when eaten. The release brings hope to millions battling vitamin A deficiency, particularly children, pregnant women and mothers.

“The hybrids are a product of nearly a decade of breeding for enhanced levels of pro-vitamin A,” said Abebe Menkir, Ph.D., maize breeder with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), who led the development of the new maize hybrids.

The National Variety Release Committee of Nigeria released the two hybrids—Ife maizehyb 3 and Ife maizehyb 4—which are recognized as IITA hybrids A0905-28 and A0905-32, respectively.

The hybrids outperformed local checks with yields ranging from 6 to 9 tons per hectare compared with 2 tons per hectare recorded on most farmers’ fields.

Maize is the most frequently consumed staple in Nigeria with about 20 percent of households consuming it within a week, according to Menkir.