New York, September 19, 2016 – HarvestPlus joins the global community in committing to action an innovative approach to reducing “hidden hunger”—deficiencies in micronutrients that have devastating impacts on nearly 2 billion people worldwide. HarvestPlus has teamed up with World Vision and the Micronutrient Initiative, with generous funding from the Government of Canada, on a multi-sectoral project that will improve the health and nutrition status of pregnant women, infants and young children during those most important first 1,000 days—from conception to 24 months—in five focus countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar).
The commitment will be announced at this year’s Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2016 annual meeting where members work to see that “good ideas are translated into real results on the ground.” With the theme at this year’s meeting being “Partnering for Global Prosperity,” the ENRICH (Enhancing Nutrition Services to Improve Maternal and Child Health) program highlights the true power of developing innovative partnerships to address complex, multi-sectoral problems, such as hidden hunger.
HarvestPlus has committed to improve the food-based nutrition component of ENRICH through the provision of biofortified crop varieties for community production and consumption. As the global leader in biofortification, HarvestPlus brings extensive technical and operational capacity to the project, including ensuring a sufficient supply of seeds, farmer and consumer adoption, training, links with suppliers and advocacy with local stakeholders.
Biofortification is a novel approach pioneered by HarvestPlus, a global program to improve nutrition that helps close the deficiency gap by conventionally breeding food crops that are naturally higher in key vitamins and minerals.
Biofortified crops have been released in 30 countries with testing underway in another 25 countries. This includes more nutritious varieties of vitamin A cassava, maize, and sweet potato, iron beans and pearl millet, and zinc wheat and rice.
According to HarvestPlus Founder and recently named World Food Prize Laureate Howarth “Howdy” Bouis, “women farmers and their families now have the opportunity to have a better diet with biofortified nutritious crops. Our studies have shown, for example, that consumption of orange sweet potato significantly reduces the duration and prevalence of diarrhea among young children. Additionally, iron-rich beans and pearl millet reduce iron deficiency in women and children.”
He added, “Biofortified crops are spreading all over the world and we look forward to seeing their impact on farmers' productivity, nutrition, and health. With its growing popularity and adoption, biofortified crops have the potential of becoming an important intervention against hunger and malnutrition alongside vitamin supplementation and food fortification.”
Succeeding Dr. Bouis as HarvestPlus’ new Chief Executive Officer, Beverley (Bev) Postma will attend the CGI annual meeting in her first days in this new role. She comes to HarvestPlus after six years as founder and Executive Director of Singapore-based Food Industry Asia (FIA), a successful non-profit regional platform tackling food security, nutrition and regulatory harmonization.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together 190 sitting and former heads of state, more than 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date, members of the CGI community have made more than 3,200 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 430 million people in more than 180 countries.
In addition to the Annual Meeting, CGI convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States; and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. This year, CGI also convened CGI Middle East & Africa, which brought together leaders across sectors to take action on pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.
For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.