The primary focus of this project, officially titled Biofortified Crops to Improve the Nutritional Content of School Meals in Malawi, is to supply 300 school children in each of 20 schools by 2023 with the nutrients they need by expanding access to biofortified crops and foods for healthy school meals, through school gardens and production by local farming families, or through procurement from local SMEs and aggregators. The project is funded by the Waterloo Foundation.

HarvestPlus is working with partners already engaged in school feeding programs in two districts: Lilongwe and Kasungu. Through these partners, HarvestPlus will initiate home grown school feeding, by facilitating the production of biofortified crops (vitamin A maize and iron beans) in those schools, or by school committee members. HarvestPlus will link agrodealers to school committees (some of whom will be members of Savings and Loans Groups, or SLGs) in those localities, for supply of biofortified crop seeds and inputs.

HarvestPlus is ensuring sustainable impact by including nutrition education and training to students, families, schools, and SMEs in partnership with relevant government agencies such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. This will include trainings to school committees on production and consumption of nutritious meals using biofortified crops, menu development, trainings for farmers and SMEs on the nutritional benefits of biofortified crops, and nutrition trainings on food preparation including cooking demonstration and tastings.

The long-term vision of this project is to increase access to high quality nutritious foods for school age children, especially girls, and their households to ensure improved nutritional and health status, schooling outcomes and economic opportunities.

The proposed program is building on work HarvestPlus is already doing in Malawi, including supplying biofortified food grains under the Malawi School Feeding program in collaboration with schools, government contractors such as Nascent Solutions and small and medium sized processors, and providing business development services to multiple agri-SMEs in Malawi.

The proposed program will promote an inclusive approach that favors smallholder procurement and nutrition-sensitive foods, and that works with a range of multi-sector actors (including smallholder farmers, agrodealers, aggregators, processors, and food suppliers) to improve access to healthy meals and nutrition education.

For more information, contact: Dellings Phiri, Country Manager, HarvestPlus Malawi.