Secretary Andrew Mitchell speaks at the UN High-Level Meeting on Food and Nutrition. (Photo: UN Photo/Rick Bajornas)

At the High-Level Meeting on Food and Nutrition held in late September at the United Nations in New York, UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell promised increased funding to support the delivery of nutrient-rich crops to undernourished populations in Asia and Africa.

“We will focus on providing high-zinc rice to 1 million households in Bangladesh by 2016,” Mr. Mitchell said at last Tuesday’s meeting. “[In addition], we will deliver orange-fleshed sweet potato, which provides vitamin A, to 10 million children.”

This decision was based on evidence from a HarvestPlus project that disseminated orange-fleshed sweet potato to 24,000 households in Uganda and Mozambique. The project found that farmers adopted the crop and that women and children benefited enormously from eating this vitamin A-rich crop.

The UN meeting coincided with the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which is a multi-stakeholder movement to reduce hunger and undernutrition particularly in the critical first 1,000 days of a child’s life. DFID’s (UK’s Department for International Development) support for nutrient-rich crops will be targeted to 17 SUN countries.

For more on DFID’s support of nutrition projects, read their recently released position paper on “Scaling Up Nutrition” and visit the Research for Development (R4D) website.