Effect of provitamin A biofortified cassava on vitamin A status of primary school children in Kenya

ING Staff: Hans Verhoef

Enhancing the regular vitamin A supply through food-and agriculture-based approaches can reduce child mortality due to common childhood diseases. Genetic improvement of cassava by natural selective breeding is a very promising first-line intervention complementary to other available methods for vitamin A delivery, because such roots are regularly consumed in large quantities throughout the year, and cassava is grown widely in developing countries by rural populations experiencing the highest burden of vitamin A deficiency and childhood infectious diseases. Because it is multiplied through vegetative propagation, farmers can grow improved varieties indefinitely without financial inputs. We will conduct a randomised controlled trial to measure group differences in vitamin A status in children who have consumed daily for a period of 13 weeks boiled roots from a cassava variety rich in provitamin A carotenoids (‘biofortified cassava’) versus a conventional white-fleshed cassava variety (’control cassava’). The trial also contains a third intervention arm with provitamin A supplements, with a view to determining the bioefficacy of provitamin A carotenoids from biofortified cassava relative to that of daily provitamin A supplementation.

kenya, children kenya, wet season

Comments are closed.