Catalyzing Biofortified Food Systems: The 2018 Annual Report
May 28, 2019

Thanks to the work of HarvestPlus and our many partners, more than 38 million people were growing and eating biofortified crops in 2018. Our annual report, Catalyzing Biofortified Food Systems, highlights accomplishments in developing and disseminating these nutritious crops globally as the biofortification movement gained more momentum.

Biofortification’s global reach is growing.

  • HarvestPlus facilitated the release of 28 new varieties of biofortified crops in 2018, bringing the total since 2004 to 211 varieties in 30 countries. (See which crops are available where on our latest crop map). 
  • Zinc maize was released in Colombia, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Niger saw the first release of iron pearl millet in Africa, and Indonesia, a country with high levels of stunting, will now benefit from the release of zinc rice. 
  • A new partnership between HarvestPlus and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition will spur private sector engagement to reach hundreds of millions more consumers with biofortified foods. 

Key studies strengthen the evidence base for biofortification. 

  • Daily consumption of iron-biofortified pearl millet improved cognitive performance in adolescent schoolchildren.  
  • Regularly consuming foods prepared with zinc-enriched wheat reduced illness vulnerable young children and mothers in India. 
  • Another study affirmed the importance of crop biofortification, projecting that billions will remain vulnerable to the health effects of micronutrient deficiencies for decades to come.

There is firm support for biofortification among policymakers and advocates. 

  • By the end of 2018, 21 countries around the world had included biofortification in their national agricultural and/or nutrition strategies. For example, India prioritized nutrition in breeding by officially setting minimum standard levels of iron and zinc for the release of pearl millet cultivars.
  • The African Development Bank (AfDB) committed to prioritizing biofortification and other nutrition-smart investments to help Africans reach their cognitive potential.
  • HarvestPlus Founder and CEO Howarth Bouis was inducted into African Leaders for Nutrition, a high-level forum initiated by the AfDB and the African Union to strengthen commitments to ending malnutrition.

HarvestPlus will continue to be a catalyzer, capacity strengthener, advocate and knowledge hub for biofortified food systems. We are deeply grateful for the ongoing support of our funders and the talent and energy of hundreds of partners around the world.

Read about these and more in the full report.

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