Self-Help promotes the cultivation of QPM because this specal hyrid of maize increases yields and is higher in protein as compared to traditional corn. Self-Help works with farmers at the grass roots level who typically till land manually. We provide education and training in the following areas: the benefits of QPM, ways to improve cultivation practices with the environment in mind, introducing no-tillage to reduce erosion, and providing loans for QPM seed and pesticides to grow a crop that increases yields and improves diets. Post-harvest practices are important as well; SHI provides instruction in improved drying practices and corn crib construction and use, reducing post-harvest losses by 37%.
QPM is included in the women’s micro-credit programs to enhance diets for poultry and pig production, and for human consumption in food preparation enterprises, such as tortillas, corncakes and biscuits which are then sold locally.
The children’s feeding project is devoted to alleviating malnutrition, providing QPM porridge with pinches of barley malt to children 6 months to 6 years. QPM has the ability to transform a child from malnurished to healthy.
Visit our store to support the QPM project in Ghana
QPM is corn that
Maize (corn) is a food staple found in many developing countries. In addition to supplying needed calories, maize is often the single largest source of protein intake for the poor. However, children weaned on normal maize receive protein with low levels of two nutritionally-vital amino acids, lysine and tryptophan. Discovering this limitation led to 30 years of research. Scientists at Purdue University (USA) identified a maize strain with a gene that increased levels of these amino acids. Scientists at CIMMYT (Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo, Int.) in Mexico continued efforts to improve its viability. Maize breeder Surinder K. Vasal and cereal chemist Evangelina Villegas (2000 World Food Prize Laureates) successfully developed a new maize called Quality Protein Maize (QPM). This new maize has a protein that allows animals with only one stomach (including humans) to utilize it more efficiently.
Farmers in Ghana have grown QPM since the 1990s when it was introduced and promoted by Research, Public Health and Extension Institutions of the Government of Ghana in partnership with Sasakawa Global 2000, headed by Dr. Norman Borlaug. Self-Help International has collaborated with all these organizations to improve the welfare of farmers and consumers. SHI began promoting QPM in Nicaragua in 1999 and now our QPM cooperative has grown into a nationaly certified seed production enterprise. And, we are ready to begin a new effort in another part of the country. In Ghana, three - fourths of the nation’s corn harvest is now QPM. Sales of QPM have stimulated other business enterprises such as plow and oxen rental, livestock grain production, mechanized maize milling operations and metal storage bin distribution (which reduce post-harvest crop loss by 37%) The increased yield, production, income, and human nutrition makes QPM a welcomed tool in the fight against alleviating hunger in the world. (Quality Protein Maize, Report of an Ad Hoc Panel of Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation Board on Science and Technology for International Development, National Research Council, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1988)