Latin America & The Caribbean

Because most Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries do not consume large amounts of a single staple crop, a different approach must be used in biofortification: a food basket. Elements of the food basket in LAC include iron beans, zinc rice, vitamin A cassava, vitamin A and zinc maize, and orange sweet potato (OSP).

HarvestPlus-LAC focuses particularly on reaching the rural poor—who may not have access to other complementary interventions such as supplementation and fortification—with the biofortified food basket.

Breeding biofortified crops for LAC was previously coordinated by AgroSalud, based at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), but has now been integrated into the HarvestPlus portfolio. Additionally, the Government of Brazil supports BioFORT Brazil, coordinated by Embrapa, which focuses efforts on the poorest areas of northeast Brazil and aims to improve nutrition through school feeding programs.

Varietal Release

BioFORT Brazil has been working on biofortification for more than 10 years and has released several biofortified varieties of maize, sweet potato, cowpeas, cassava, and beans. Additional research is ongoing for wheat and rice. 

In other LAC countries, varietal releases to date include iron beans in El Salvador, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Additionally, promising varieties of zinc rice are being tested in Bolivia, Panama, and Nicaragua. Going forward, HarvestPlus-LAC will focus its attention on three priority countries—Guatemala, Haiti, and Nicaragua—where women and children suffer from the highest levels of vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the region.

Seed Commercialization

HarvestPlus is capitalizing on existing seed networks and partnering with both public and private sector seed producers in zinc rice seed production and marketing. Currently, 12 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and two seed producer associations comprising 250 small- and medium-scale seed producers are involved in zinc rice seed production and delivery. Breeder seed production began in the 2013/14 Boro season. During 2013–14, 1,000 farm demonstrations and distribution of minikits (seed packets) got underway. Training of various rice delivery stakeholders in marketing and sales is also being facilitated by HarvestPlus.


In Colombia, collaboration with the private sector offers a market for farmers’ biofortified crops, which are then processed into typical Colombian products, such as mazamorra and natilla, made from biofortified maize, as well as zinc rice noodles and vitamin A cassava and sweet potato flour. In Brazil, as part of a school feeding pilot project, 10 cities have added iron beans, vitamin A cassava, and OSP to their programs, ensuring that small-scale farmers who grow biofortified crops have a market for their excess production.


Partnerships are extremely important to the delivery efforts in LAC. They range from public sector partnerships, such as with the governments of Brazil and Panama that have created and support national biofortification programs, to private sector partnerships, such as with Pampa Ltd. Stakeholder workshops were held in late 2013 in Guatemala and Nicaragua; both countries have established national committees for the inclusion of biofortification in food security policies.

Visit for more information and latest updates on biofortification in the region.

Country Contacts

Marilia Nuti
Director, Latin America and the Caribbean
Phone: +55 21 36229755



  • Integral Agricultural Cooperative (CAISY Ltda)
  • Research Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)


  • Agency for Agricultural Research and Rural Extension of Maranhão State (Agerp)
  • Agricultural Development and Fisheries Secretary of Pará State (Sedap)
  • Agricultural Research Company of Rio de Janeiro State (Pesagro-RIO)
  • Capim Branco City Government, MG
  • Cascavel City Government, PR
  • Caxias-MA Secretary of Agriculture
  • Corumbá City Government, MS
  • Development Company of the São Francisco and Parnaíba Valleys (Codevasf)
  • Education and Culture Secretary of Piauí State
  • Embrapa - Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation
  • Extraordinary Secretary for Racial
  • Equality of Maranhão State
  • Family Agriculture Secretariat of Maranhão State (SAF)
  • Federal University of Maranhão (UFMA)
  • Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
  • Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU)
  • Federal University of Viçosa (UFV)
  • Food and Nutrition Security Council of Maranhão State (Consea-MA)
  • Food and Nutrition Security Secretary of Maranhão State
  • Foundation for Scientific and Technological Development (Fundetec)
  • Fundação Arthur Bernardes (FUNARBE)
  • Guaraniaçu City Government, PR
  • Inter-sectoral Chamber of Food and Nutrition Security of Maranhão State
  • Itaguaí City Government, RJ
  • Magé City Government, RJ
  • Maranhão State Government
  • Mato Grosso Company of Research, Assistance and Rural Extension (Empaer)
  • Minas Gerais State Company of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension (Emater-MG
  • Monte Carmelo City Government, MG
  • Municipal Secretariat of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries Supply of Alto Alegre-MA
  • National Supply Company of Maranhão (Conab)
  • Packaging Technology Center of the Institute of Food Technology (CETEA / ITAL)
  • Patrocínio City Government, MG
  • Piauí Company of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension of Piauí (Emater-PI)
  • Piauí Regional Association of Agricultural
  •  Family Schools (AEFAPI)
  • Regeneration City Government, PI
  • Rio Grande do Sul Company of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Company (Emater-RS)
  • Rio Negro City Government, PR
  • Rural Producers Association of Barra do Saco, Codó-MA
  • Rural Producers Association of the 13th April Settlement, Canto do Buriti-PI
  • Rural Producers Association of the Angio Branco Settlement, Eliseu Martins-PI
  • Rural Producers Association of the Settlement Center of Cabeceira, Caxias-MA
  • Rural Producers Association of the Malhada Settlement, Canto do Buriti-PI
  • Rural Workers Union of Coroatá-MA
  • Rural Workers Union of Eliseu Martins, liseu Martins-PI
  • Rural Workers Union of Queimada Nova-PI
  • Rural Workers Union of Tanque-PI
  • Santa Angela Foundation, Pedro II-PI
  • São Gabriel do Oeste City Government, MS
  • São João do Soter City Government, MA
  • São Mateus Municipal Council of Maranhão-MA
  • School of Agriculture "Luiz de Queiroz" at State University of São Paulo (ESALQ/USP)
  • Sete Lagoas City Government, MG
  • Social Development Secretariat of Maranhão State
  • State University of Campinas (Unicamp)
  • State University of Maranhão (UEMA)
  • State University of São Paulo (USP)
  • Tanque City Government, PI
  • Technical Services Cooperative of Coroatá-MA (Coosert)
  • Timbiras-MA Secretary of Agriculture
  • University Center of Sete Lagoas (Unifemm)


  • Association of Agronomists of the Atlantic
  • Colombian Agricultural Research Corporation (CORPOICA)
  • Del Valle University
  • Foundation for Research and Agricultural Development (FIDAR)
  • Guerrero Seeds
  • Latin American and Caribbean Consortium to Support Research and Development of Cassava (CLAYUCA)
  • Maxisemillas
  • Ministry of Health
  • National Federation of Cereal and Leguminous Plants Growers - FENALCE
  • Seed Companies
  • SENA – Agribusiness Buga
  • UMATA Florida
  • UMATA Versalles
  • Valle del Cauca Government
  • World Food Programme (WFP)

El Salvador:

  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  • National Center of Agricultural, Livestock and Forestry Technology (CENTA)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)


  • Del Valle University, Department of Engineering in Food Sciences
  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  • Fundación para la Innovación Tecnológica Agropecuaria y Forestal (FUNDIT)
  • Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA)
  • Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP)
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
  • Members of the BioFORT Platform
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle
  • Raising and Food (MAGA)
  • Ministry of Health (SESAN)
  • San Carlos de Guatemala University
  • Seed Network of Guatemala
  • Semilla Nueva
  • United States Agency for International
  • Development (USAID)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)
  • World Vision


  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
  • CHIBAS Foundation
  • Ministry of Agriculture (MARNDR)
  • Ministry of Public Health and Population (MSPP)
  • Organization for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (ORE)
  • Project AKOSAA/University Laval
  • Program School Food (PNCS)


  • Directorate of Agricultural Science and Technology-DICTA
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)
  • Panamerican School of Agriculture, Zamorano
  • World Food Programme (WFP)


  • Central American University
  • Fabretto Foundation
  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  • Foundation for Research and
  • Rural Development (FIDER), Caritas-Matagalpa
  • Nicaraguan Institute for Agricultural Technology (INTA)
  • PAIPSAN Project
  • Quality Seed Producers
  • Sanseco project
  • Semillas Mejoradas S.A. (SEMSA)
  • World Food Programme (WFP)


  • Agricultural and Livestock Research Institute of Panama (IDIAP)
  • Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)
  • Ministry of Agricultural Development
  • Ministry of Education
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • National Secretary for National Food Program
  • Panama University
  • Patronato de Nutrición
  • Specialized Analysis Institute
  • World Food Programme (WFP)


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