GAIN Working Paper 41: A Review of the Aggregation Models Used in the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops Programme

Biofortification (also known as nutrient enrichment) of staple crops, is a cost-effective and sustainable agricultural technology that enhances the quantity, bioavailability and bioaccessibility of micronutrients, with the aim of reducing micronutrient deficiencies. From 2019-2022, GAIN and HarvestPlus coordinated the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) Programme, which sought to scale up the production and consumption of biofortified foods (i.e., wheat, maize, cassava, rice, pearl millet, and beans) through commercial pathways in six countries in Africa and Asia. The programme used a variety of strategic scaling pathways to ensure commercialisation (e.g., increased production and availability of surplus for sale in markets), where aggregation was a key step. The objectives of this paper are to: (1) document the types of aggregation models employed by the CBC programme and their challenges, and (2) make recommendations for improving biofortified crop value chains to better achieve commercialisation. The insights in this paper are based on a desk review of CBC programme documents and semi-structured interviews with programme implementers. 

The main aggregation model applied in most of the CBC country-crop combinations was contract farming based on collective sales. Other aggregation models were individual contractual sales and spot market transactions. Thematic challenges identified across these models included supply- and demand-related issues, low consumer awareness, inadequate private-sector engagement, and segregation and traceability issues. We propose actionable recommendations to efficiently commercialise biofortified crop value chains. By applying these principles, biofortification programmes are more likely to reach their goals of improving micronutrient intakes and related health and nutrition outcomes.