HarvestPlus is committed to making food systems healthier and more inclusive to benefit the world’s most vulnerable people—particularly smallholder farming families in low- and middle-income countries. The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it bring into clear focus the urgency of helping these people become more resilient in the face of health and other threats to their well-being.
Our 2019 Annual Report, “Getting Biofortified Food on Everyone’s Plate,” shows how we engage an expanding range of partners to broaden the reach and impact of micronutrient-rich biofortified crops and foods that contribute to better health outcomes, improved livelihoods, and better lives. Our goal is to make biofortification available to all who can benefit from it.
The 2019 Annual Report includes several examples of how momentum accelerated in global efforts to rapidly scale up cultivation and consumption of micronutrient-rich varieties rice, wheat, maize, beans, pearl millet, cassava, orange sweet potato, and other staples. A few key metrics:
- Working with our CGIAR research center colleagues and national agricultural research systems, HarvestPlus facilitated the release of 27 biofortified crop varieties in 11 countries, bringing the total number of varieties released worldwide so far to 242 in 30 countries.
- These crops were benefitting more than 42 million members of smallholder farming families in Africa, Asia, and Latin America/Caribbean, up 12 percent from 2018.
- HarvestPlus and in-country partners trained 63,000 farmers in biofortified crop production techniques and marketing; the majority trained were women farmers.
New Global, Regional, and National Commitments
The year also brought several new commitments and endorsements for biofortification, reflecting a growing global movement:
- A total of 24 countries had adopted biofortification legislation and/or regulations by the end of 2019.
- Agriculture ministers of the 55 African Union member states recommended an official endorsement of biofortification by their heads of state.
- The World Food Programme added biofortified crops as a procurement target in its local and regional procurement policies.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization, in partnership with HarvestPlus, produced a technical brief on biofortification aimed at encouraging uptake of this nutrition strategy by its nearly 200 member countries.
- The UK Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation made significant new multiyear commitments to support biofortification work.
HarvestPlus sincerely thanks its funders for their ongoing support and our hundreds of partners for their dedication to our mission to end hidden hunger.
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