HarvestPlus supports the National Agricultural Research System in India to breed, test, and release biofortified pearl millet and wheat developed through our partnership with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).
Iron pearl millet is one of the staple foods in arid and semi-arid regions of India, and wheat is the most important food grain of the country. Public and private seed companies play a critical role in commercializing seed for distribution to farmers. We support these companies with market research, nutrition studies, branding, and promotional strategies. Our partnerships also train farmers, retailers, and distributors on the benefits of biofortified pearl millet and wheat.
Public awareness campaigns leverage the power of the media and national public health experts to highlight micronutrient deficiencies and promote adoption of nutritious crops. Our advocacy seeks to strengthen central and state-level ownership of biofortification through effective integration into nutrition and agricultural policies.
“Partnering with HarvestPlus gave us an opportunity to use our experience and distribution channels to serve our farmers by providing them with high-zinc wheat variety.”— Sandeep Goel, Managing Director, Astha Beej Co. Pvt. Ltd
Iron Pearl Millet
India ranks number 12 out of 55 countries suitable for investing in iron pearl millet.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides up to 80% of daily iron needs
Farmer Benefits: High yielding, mildew resistant, short duration, drought tolerant
Varieties: ICTP 8203-Fe-10-2 (Dhanashakti), ICMH 1201 (Shakti-1201)
India ranks number 9 out of 73 countries suitable for investing in zinc wheat.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides up to 50% of daily zinc needs
Farmer Benefits: High yielding, adapted to the target area of eastern gangetic plains, disease resistant
Varieties: BHU-3, BHU-6 (Chitra)
- Iron deficiency impairs mental development and learning capacity, increases weakness and fatigue, and may increase the risk of women dying during childbirth.
- 70% of Indian children under 5 are estimated to be iron deficient (DHS).
- Zinc deficiency causes stunting, lowers immunity, and increases risk of diarrheal disease and respiratory infections.
- 48% of Indian children under 5 are estimated to be zinc deficient (WHO).
- Annually, India loses over $12 billion in GDP to vitamin and mineral deficiencies (World Bank).