The webinar focused on the dynamics of business activity in biofortified seed, crop, and food value chains, in a discussion with those on the front lines. Drawing on their experiences and lessons learned, we explored challenges and opportunities for businesses to enter and grow biofortified product markets.
The aim was to generate interest in increasing business activity and strengthening enabling environments for biofortification, and inform commitments expected to emerge from the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021 and the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit in December 2021.
Sylvia Banda, CEO, Silva Foods, Zambia
Sylvia Banda is a recognized innovator and entrepreneur in the food sector, and has been an Ashoka Fellow since 2012. Most recently in Zambia, she was honored in 2020 with the Presidential Insignia of Honour 2020 for work in promoting the consumption of nutritious traditional foods and economically empowering rural farmers. She has trained over 25,000 smallholder farmers to solar dry local vegetables and fruits from Zambia, Mozambique And Tanzania, using a solar dryer of her own design that is being distributed to more farmers by local NGOs. Silva Foods also manufactures and markets food products made with vitamin A-biofortified orange maize.
Adeniji Kolawole, Group Managing Director, Niji Group, Nigeria
Kolawole Adeniji is a trained mechanical engineering technologist with over 25 year experience working on diverse agro-allied projects across Nigeria and Africa. He is a prominent stakeholder in the agro-allied machinery and equipment fabrication in Nigeria and is particularly active in the cassava value chain. businesses in Africa. As founder and currently Managing Director of Niji Group, he oversees the group’s four subsidiaries, namely: Niji Lukas Nig. Ltd., Niji Farms and Allied Services Ltd., Niji Foods Nig Ltd., and Niji Institute of Sustainable Agriculture. He has won several Nigerian and global awards in honor of his work, including the Century International Quality Era Award (Gold Category), Geneva, Switzerland in 2015.
Margareth Natai, Nutritionist and Principal Agriculture Officer, Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture
Margareth Natai has been with the Ministry of Agriculture since 1991, and is currently the nutrition focal person involved in coordination and supporting various nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions. This has included, among other things, leading the process developing biofortification guidelines to support stakeholders in the crop value chain and contribute to the reduction of micronutrient deficiency in the country. Natai is also involved in the development of policies, strategies, action plans and guidelines on food security, post-harvest crop management, and nutrition. She holds an Msc. in Natural Resource Management for Sustainable Agriculture, and a Bsc. in Home Economics and Human Nutrition, both from Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania.
Dr. Jaysing Chandrasing (J.C.) Rajput, Director, Nirmal Seeds, India
Dr. J.C. Rajput is an eminent horticulturist with wide experience at the national and international levels in crop research and development. He holds a doctorate from the University of Agriculture Science in Bangalore, and a master’s in science (Agriculture) from Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, Dapoli Dist-Ratnagiri. He has been Director of Research at Nirmal Seed Pvt Ltd. in Pachora Maharashtra, since 1998. Previously has served as a Vegetable Specialist (KKV, Dapoli), Horticulturist and Associate Director of Research at the Regional Fruit Research Station Vengurla (KKV). He has widely traveled for research and business purposes in almost 30 countries.
Arun Baral, CEO, HarvestPlus
Arun Baral oversees the interdisciplinary, global effort of HarvestPlus to develop and deliver micronutrient-rich staple food crops to reduce micronutrient deficiency (or “hidden hunger”) among malnourished populations. He champions biofortification within the CGIAR system, the private sector, among national agricultural research centers, and in the international agriculture and nutrition communities. Prior to joining HarvestPlus in 2017 as chief financial officer, he spent more than 30 years in the international agriculture sector, based in Asia, Africa, and the United States. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Drake University in Iowa, and a Bachelor of Commerce (honors) from Delhi University in India.
Jenny Walton, Senior Specialist, Demand Creation and Business Development, HarvestPlus
Jenny Walton establishes ways to scale the use and reach of biofortified foods via partnerships across the value chain. Working with the public and private sector, she identifies incentives to scale and commercialize biofortification and work in partnership to overcome the barriers to scale. Jenny is a registered nutritionist with over 25 years’ experience working in the food industry for well-known brands such as the Co-op, Danone, United Biscuits and Kellogg’s. She has worked in various nutrition related roles including food policy, nutrition science, food regulations, nutrition communications and marketing.
The presentations can be viewed here.