DAVOS, Switzerland, January 23, 2014. HarvestPlus and World Vision today signed a MoU at the World Economic Forum in Davos, making a commitment to work together to improve nutrition for hundreds of millions of people around the world who suffer from hidden hunger. Hidden hunger is caused by a chronic lack of critical vitamins and minerals that puts children and adults at increased risk of stunting, anemia, blindness, infectious diseases and even death. One in three people globally suffer from hidden hunger and women and children are especially vulnerable.
The partnership will focus on improving access to nutritious staple food crops – for home consumption and to sell in local markets – for vulnerable farming communities. "More nutritious staple food crops are now available," said HarvestPlus Director Howarth Bouis. "About half a million farmers are already growing them and there is an established pipeline for new varieties with even higher levels of vitamins and minerals. “However, our reach is limited. We need to work with partners who can scale-up these crops. World Vision has the reach and depth of experience needed to spread these crops through rural communities worldwide. We're committed to exploring how we can do this together – to reach more people, more quickly, with nutritious foods."
These nutritious food crops have been bred through the biofortification process, which uses conventional plant breeding methods. Not only are varieties higher yielding, they have more resistance to disease and pests, while several varieties are better adapted to drought.
“World Vision is committed to improving nutrition for the world’s hungriest children, their families and communities, said World Vision International President Kevin Jenkins. “We can only do so much on our own. We believe more can be achieved by linking our comparative strengths with organizations like HarvestPlus, UN agencies like the World Food Programme, and companies like DSM.”
World Vision and HarvestPlus will launch the partnership by focusing on Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana and Sierra Leone. The MoU was signed at the World Economic Forum event Scaling Sustainable Food-Based Solutions to Tackle Hidden Hunger hosted by the World Food Programme, and featuring HarvestPlus, World Vision and global life and materials science company Royal DSM.