To increase access to nutritious food at school for 1.2 million children in Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi, HarvestPlus has partnered with AGRA, with support from the Rockefeller Foundation on a project titled, “Advancing Availability of Biofortified Foods for Institutional Markets”.
The three-year project will strengthen the ecosystem for sustainable delivery of biofortified vitamin A maize and iron beans within institutional markets, especially school feeding programs, in the target countries between 2022 – 2025.
Leveraging a global concerted effort to develop the nexus between biofortification and school feeding programs, the project will support local smallholder farmers by creating a new market for their nutrient-enriched outputs, while meeting schools’ demand for food that can simultaneously improve the health, nutrition, and educational outcomes of children.
The project will build local capacity and ownership by working with a range of multi-sector actors (including smallholder farmers, seed companies, agro-dealers, aggregators, processors, and food suppliers), whose role will be to supply schools with nutritious foods and sustain this initiative’s impact beyond 2025. In tandem, the program will work with school administrators, ministries of education, local governments, and key decisionmakers to secure ongoing support for enriched nutrition in schools.
While the activities led by AGRA will focus on catalyzing increased biofortified seed and grain production in the target countries, HarvestPlus-led activities will simultaneously and specifically increase demand for these biofortified products through two pillars:
- Community and institutional mobilization to stimulate buy-in of community stakeholders including parents, farmer associations, local authorities, and community development officers who, through improved technical capacity, will be empowered to meet their own community needs by supplying local biofortified crops to schools over the long term
- Awareness and demand creation on the nutrition and health benefits of biofortified foods, to enable school authorities, childcare centers, and other stakeholders to manage and grow school feeding programs through cooking demonstrations, demonstration plot establishment, seed fair days, and nutrition education.
Collectively, the activities under these pillars will increase the proportion of biofortified grain procured locally into school feeding programs, increase the technical capacity of supply chain actors to integrate biofortified foods in institutional programs, strengthen local departments of education to implement nutritious food programs, and more.
Building infrastructure to strengthen the supply chain for biofortified foods in schools over the long-term will help ensure vital nutrition reaches children at a critical life phase, when healthy diets can have positive impacts on immunity and health, school attendance, and realization of academic potential.
For more information read the project brochure, Delivering Nutritious Home-Grown Meals to Children, or contact HarvestPlus.