HarvestPlus has operated in India since 2011, in close collaboration with partners in the public and private sector, to improve nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified crops and building out biofortified seed and crop value chains. Biofortification is endorsed at the highest levels of government as a strategy to address widespread micronutrient deficiencies and their serious health impacts.


Binu Cherian

c/o ICRISAT, Building #303, Patancheru, Telangana State, India -502324. 


The state governments of Bihar and Odisha have made major commitments to scale up production and consumption of zinc-biofortified wheat and rice to help address malnutrition generally, and stunting rates in particular. Action by these states has come in the context of broader national commitments to advance biofortification in India. For example, in 2020, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly endorsed biofortified crops, and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) announced that 10 percent of its Frontline Demonstrations (FLDs) of experimental crop varieties would include zinc-biofortified wheat and rice varieties.

Biofortified Crops in India*

Iron Pearl Millet

Year of First Release:
Number of Varieties Released
to Date:10

Zinc Rice

Year of First Release:
Number of Varieties Released
to Date:12

Zinc Wheat

Year of First Release:
Number of Varieties Released
to Date:9

*Includes varieties shown to meet HarvestPlus standards. Other varieties may be available in the country.

Varieties Released Database

This searchable database provides information on all biofortified crops variety releases by country.

Areas of Expertise

  1. Crop Development
  2. Seed Production and Commercialization
  3. Seed Distribution
  4. Consumer Engagement
  5. Value Addition
  6. Policy Engagement

Crop Development

HarvestPlus supports the Indian Council of Agricultural Research-National Agricultural Research System (NARS), state agricultural universities (SAUs), and international agricultural research organisations such as ICRISAT, CIMMYT, and IRRI in breeding, testing and release of zinc wheat, zinc rice and iron pearl millet. 

Seed Production and Commercialisation

HarvestPlus works with private seed companies, farmers, non-governmental organizations, farmer producer organisations, state seed corporations such as the Karnataka State Seed Corporation (KSSC) & Maharashtra State Seed Corporation (MSSC), and national seed corporations to develop quality-controlled seeds.

Seed Distribution

HarvestPlus India collaborates with key stakeholders for the distribution of seeds. Mini-Kit trial packs are provided to farmers for the initial testing and evaluation.

Consumer Engagement

HarvestPlus increases awareness of biofortified crops through consumer education, training, farmers’ field days, courtyard meetings, and school sensitization programs.

Value Addition

HarvestPlus is engaging with key food companies and processors to create value-added products and build supply chains for biofortified crops. The plan is to support commercialisation of different value-added products to increase the consumption of biofortified food and combat micronutrient deficiencies. 

Policy Engagement

HarvestPlus India is working on the inclusion of biofortified grains in government schemes to reach communities with nutritious crops.

Featured Project

Bihar-Odisha Project

Focus: To establish a sustainable system of production and consumption of nutrient rich, biofortified zinc wheat, zinc rice, and iron lentils to improve the nutritional status of the people of Bihar and Odisha.
Funder: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
HarvestPlus Role: Technical partner on biofortification. Biofortified crop promotion and distribution is being piloted in 33 districts of Bihar. The Government of Bihar has also partnered with Rural Development Council and HarvestPlus to make Kukribigah village in Bihar a model “nutritional village,” where the 475 rural households will only cultivate biofortified crops using organic methods.

Focus Crops: Zinc wheat, zinc rice, iron lentils

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Biofortification news in India

“Nutritional Village” in India’s Bihar State to Promote Biofortified Crops

Kukribigah is a quaint village in the Dulhin Bazar district of Patna, India. In a novel effort to help promote biofortification in Bihar State, where Patna is located, the Rural Development Council (RDC) and the Government of Bihar have partnered with HarvestPlus to make Kukribigah a model “nutritional village,” where the 475 rural households will only cultivate biofortified […]

A Journey Across the Value Chain: Zinc Wheat in India

Millions of people in northern India depend on wheat for their daily sustenance. A new variety of wheat that is rich in zinc is now available to farmers and consumers in the region. HarvestPlus and partners are working to expand the reach and impact of zinc wheat—and other biofortified nutritious crops—in the country. In the visually stunning, richly […]

Bihar State in India to Promote Biofortified Crops to Address Nutrition Security

The Government of Bihar, India’s third most populous state, is making a major commitment to scale up production and consumption of zinc-biofortified wheat to help address a serious malnutrition problem and reduce the highest rate of stunting in the country.  Dr. Prem Kumar, the Honorable Minister for the Agriculture Department and the Animal and Fisheries […]

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HarvestPlus Partners

We have more than 100 partners in the public, private, NGO, and policy engagement sectors who share our mission to improve nutrition and lives of people in India.

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India Brochure

An overview of HarvestPlus activity in India.

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