Nutrient Enriched Crops

GAIN’s overall vision is to scale up production and availability nutrient enriched crops and reach 120m consumers in Africa and Asia by 2027.

Since 2019, GAIN has been supporting the scaling up of nutrient-enriched crops, also known as biofortified crops, in Africa and Asia to improve the intakes of micronutrients or nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development. These micronutrient rich crops are developed through conventional breeding techniques (they are not genetically modified) to increase their density of iron, zinc, or vitamin A – all critical micronutrients for maintaining good health. They are also bred with other traits for improved productivity and resilience as demanded by farming communities such as high yield, drought tolerance, and resistance to disease and pests. GAIN currently supports the scaling up of a variety of nutrient enriched crops including iron enriched beans, zinc enriched rice and wheat and vitamin A enriched maize, cassava and sweet potatoes.

Our work in nutrient enriched crops involves a wide range of stakeholders across the agricultural value chains such as governments and policy makers, agricultural research institutes, seed producers, farm inputs agro-dealers, farmers, agricultural extension workers, aggregators, food processors and other market actors involved in procurement and marketing of nutrient enriched crops and foods such as wholesalers and retailers as well as institutional buyers such as school feeding programmes.

Key focus areas

Seed systems: partnering with research institutes and seed companies on scaling up nutrient enriched seed production and agro-dealers on availability and accessibility of the seeds to farmers.

Scaling up nutrient enriched crops production - working through farmers groups or farmer mobilization organizations and extension workers to scale up production of nutrient enriched crops.

Demand creation and markets – working with both farmers on uptake of nutrient enriched crops as well as consumers and institutional buyers on benefits of nutrient enriched foods to create demand. The work also involves connecting farmers to markets and supporting aggregation models for nutrient enriched crops. In addition, we also support food processors on product and market development for nutrient enriched foods.

Enabling environment – partnering with governments on policies, standards and regulations to support uptake of nutrient enriched crops and integration of these crops and foods in government procurement, social safety net programmes and other institutional programmes such as school feeding.

Sustainability – promoting production of nutrient enriched crops as a climate adaptation intervention in light of the fact that  CO2 emissions are leading to reductions in the micronutrient content of crops. In addition, we also work with farmers on good agronomic practices and climate smart agricultural practices in partnership with agricultural extension workers.

Livelihoods and inclusion: GAIN and its partners support capacity building of smallholder farmers and agri-food entrepreneurs, with a special emphasis on women and youth, along nutrient enriched crops supply chains by equipping them with entrepreneurial skills, providing business support services such as aggregation, market linkages, product development and processing as well as improving access to finance for those running nutrient enriched crops enterprises.    

  • Pakistan
  • Nigeria
  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • India
  • Bangladesh

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