HarvestPlus Delivery Stages
The first, introductory stage, aims at achieving adoption in selected target groups. For this, variety release and sufficient seed supply need to be guaranteed. Promotion directly to the target group takes place and is accompanied by agronomic and nutrition information. In parallel, seed companies are engaged in marketing. In the first stage, diagnostic and operations research takes place as input for cost-effective scaling up in the next stage.
The second stage aims at scaling up operations with the objective of reaching a sustainable market share. In most cases, costs per person reached will decrease with growing numbers because of various scaling effects; for example, the use of cost-effective mass-media promotion, volume and throughput efficiencies, and diffusion effects and grassroots marketing. Once a significant market share is achieved, cost per person reached may start to increase again, reflecting increasing competition, resistance to change, and target segments in isolated settings marked by low population densities. A sustainable market share lies in the vicinity of the point of lowest cost per person: for people reached with this market share, the biofortified option is the most cost-effective alternative from the farmer and consumer perspective.
Activities in the second stage aim at scaling up and at moving ownership for delivery into the hands of the public and/or the private sector. Seed and food markets are strengthened through a range of measures, including capacity strengthening, product innovation, and the establishment of certification and quality assurance mechanisms. The respective private sectors are supported by growth-oriented incentives. Mass promotion of biofortification is implemented and partnerships are established with the objective of handing over key delivery activities.
The third stage involves establishing conditions for long-term sustainability. It builds on the relationships and trust established in the first two stages with national and district-level counterparts in the public and private sector domain. The main objectives in this stage are to help local and national government to develop and enact policies and establish support mechanisms for continued engagement in biofortification. This encompasses many aspects, for example ensuring a profitable business environment and viable business models along the value chain of biofortified seeds and foods, food labeling protection, assisting certification authorities, and adding biofortification as an attribute for future variety release.
This staged approach to delivery also reflected another important insight: that delivery operations couldn’t be fully designed along a master plan that could be implemented without changes. Rather, important insights on what worked and what didn’t, the understanding of farmer and consumer preferences, and of the marketplace would continue to grow during implementation. Put simply, not everything can be figured out before starting delivery operations.
The three delivery stages build on each other: successfully demonstrated introduction of biofortified varieties often represents a necessary condition to scaling up efforts to reach significant penetration of targeted seed and food market segments. In the same fashion, successful market penetration and demonstrated benefits then lay the foundation for consideration of biofortification in policy, regulation, and business frameworks.