Alongside the roses, chrysanthemums, and other blooms featured at this year’s world-renowned Chelsea Flower Show, visitors were also getting an up-close look at biofortified crops in a garden promoting the role of women farmers in sustainable agriculture.
The garden, sponsored by the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), is designed to feature climate-smart crops and was developed with support from the UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID). CAMFED notes on its website that the garden includes “crops which have been specially bred for their higher nutritional content, and which are resilient to drought and pests.”
CAMFED said the garden drew inspiration from Beauty Gombana, a Zimbabwean who received support from CAMFED to attend agricultural college and who now runs a farming enterprise based on sustainable methods. According to CAMFED, in 2018, Beauty began growing iron-biofortified beans and vitamin A maize delivered by HarvestPlus in Zimbabwe.
HarvestPlus, works with more than 40 partners in Zimbabwe to promote these nutritious crops. When consumed as a regular part of diets, vitamin A maize can provide up to 50 percent of daily vitamin A needs; it is high-yielding, disease and virus resistant, and drought tolerant. The biofortified beans can provide up to 80 percent of daily iron needs; the beans are high yielding, virus resistant, and drought tolerant.
To date, more than 250,000 households in Zimbabwe have been reached with biofortified maize and bean seeds both directly and through market-led interventions. This is largely been through the Livelihoods and Food Security Program (LFSP), funded by DFID and managed by the Food and Agriculture Organization. HarvestPlus is a strategic technical partner for the LFSP.