HarvestPlus and the World Food Programme (WFP) have released a joint brief that highlights the significant role of nutrient-enriched biofortified crops in improving global nutrition and food security, especially for the world’s most vulnerable households.
The brief, Biofortification: A Food Systems Approach to Ensuring Healthy Diets Globally, comes as HarvestPlus and WFP are working to “leverage one another’s expertise, experience, and reach to improve nutrition and food security” and “increase the uptake of biofortified crops and foods,” writes Valerie N. Guarnieri, Assistant Executive Director for Programme and Policy Development at WFP, and Arun Baral, CEO of HarvestPlus, in the brief’s Forward.
The document showcases examples of WFP/HarvestPlus collaborations in supporting country-level initiatives to scale up biofortified seeds, crops, and foods, and identifies opportunities to integrate biofortified crops and foods in the global agency’s procurement policies and in other relevant WFP programs.
The brief provides basic information about biofortification and how it plays a central role in global efforts by the CGIAR (of which HarvestPlus is a part) to improve the nutrition and health of vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries. It highlights the robust evidence based on the agricultural benefits of biofortified crops, their acceptance by farmers and consumers, and the crops’ nutritional and health benefits. Drawing on this evidence, the brief shows how “nutrient-enriched crops can help sustainably transform food systems to deliver healthier diets.”
Biofortified crops promoted by HarvestPlus are currently available in 30 countries and are benefiting nearly 10 million smallholder farming households who are growing, consuming, and trading in these crops. The crops promoted by HarvestPlus include vitamin A maize, sweet potato, and cassava; iron bean and pearl millet; and zinc wheat, rice, and maize.