Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops


In May 2018, HarvestPlus and GAIN launched a landmark partnership to accelerate progress in improving access to essential vitamins and minerals for vulnerable people. This is an ambitious partnership to tackle hidden hunger by bringing the benefits of nutrient-rich biofortified foods to a billion consumers. 

The partnership brings together two leading players in the global nutrition space. It combines the deep expertise of HarvestPlus in all aspects of biofortification with GAIN’s proven track record of working with private companies to create sustainable market models for nutritious food systems.

GAIN and HarvestPlus will work to commercialise these nutrient-enriched crops to expand their reach and build on the current HarvestPlus success, which is already reaching 50 million people living in smallholder farming households.

The Governments of the Netherlands and Germany have committed funding to support this initiative. The initial four-year programme has a budget of USD 35 million, capable of supporting activities in six countries and reaching 200 million consumers. 

The partners will jointly manage the programme to accelerate commercially-driven expansion of demand for selected biofortified staple crops and food products. 

The programme initially focuses on nine focus crops in six priority countries in Africa and Asia with pervasive levels of malnutrition:

Bangladesh Zinc rice
India Zinc wheat and iron pearl millet
Pakistan Zinc wheat
Kenya Iron beans
Nigeria Vitamin A cassava and Vitamin A maize
TanzaniaIron beans and Vitamin A maize

HarvestPlus, an initiative of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), is developing and promoting new, more nutritious varieties of staple food crops with higher amounts of vitamin A, iron or zinc - three of the micronutrients identified by the World Health Organization as most lacking in diets globally. The process is known as biofortification - and regular consumption of these innovative crops is improving nutrition and public health. Founded in 2003 by biofortification pioneer and World Food Prize laureate Howarth Bouis, HarvestPlus works with CGIAR research centres, national agricultural research systems, and hundreds of other partners around the world to develop biofortified crops, assess their nutritional content and efficacy, deliver seeds to farmers, and foster enabling environments for biofortification. HarvestPlus is based at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and is part of the CGIAR programme on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH).

Biofortification is an effective and proven innovation to reach rural communities in developing countries where consumption of staple foods is higher, consumption of other micronutrient-rich foods is lower and access to micronutrient supplements and processed foods fortified with micronutrients is limited. Biofortification is a scientifically underpinned, cost-effective and scalable solution.

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