In a summary of results from the World Bank-funded Agriculture Productivity Project for Southern Africa (APPSA), the Bank highlights the importance of strategic collaborations—including with HarvestPlus in Malawi—to scaling up effective solutions for African farmers.
The APPSA aimed at increasing the availability of improved agricultural technologies and seeds for farmers across the Southern Africa region—particularly in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Angola. A Results Brief posted by the Bank states that 177 improved seed varieties and 124 agronomic and post-harvest technologies were made available to farmers during the project, which ran from 2013 through January 2020.
In Malawi, APPSA recognized the need for increased availability of micronutrient-rich biofortified maize seeds and provided funding to the Malawi Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) to do so. From 2016 through 2018, HarvestPlus worked with the DARS to test, evaluate, and register five varieties of vitamin A-biofortified maize seeds. Prior to the APPSA project work, HarvestPlus had already helped DARS develop and release five other varieties of vitamin A maize.
The Bank noted the importance of delivering results through building partnerships with the private sector: “An example of this partnership is the release of a Vitamin A biofortified maize variety, which is being promoted by seven private seed companies in Malawi through multiplication and commercialization.” The Bank noted that partnerships with HarvestPlus and others helped facilitate links with private sector partners such as Syngenta Seed Company, Mpongwe Milling Company, and Chilala Milling Company.
Some of the key takeaways in the report include a focus on:
- Strong partnerships with private sector actors and others. The Bank noted that “strong engagement with CGIAR (of which HarvestPlus is a part) ensures good access to germplasm and technical [backstopping].”
- Robust dissemination. “Dissemination should not come later after technology generation but move together,” the Bank said.
- Ownership from country governments, cemented by counterpart funding from governments.
- Champions to ensure regional coordination and share lessons learned.
Engaging partners in the public, private, and global development sectors is the heart of HarvestPlus’ strategy to catalyze rapid scale-up of biofortification and reach 1 billion people worldwide with nutritious biofortified crops and foods by 2030. International financial institutions such as the World Bank are priority partners in this effort given their ability to leverage resources and directly engage and support country governments at the policy and program levels.
In another example of effective partnership in Malawi, HarvestPlus joined forces with the Clinton Foundation and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to set up demonstration plots around the country to introduce farmers to biofortified and drought-tolerant maize varieties. The demonstration plot approach in Malawi is reaching about 30,000 farmers and is an entry point to engage farming communities in ways that they can become more climate-resilient and have access to nutritionally enriched food.
For more information about partnering with HarvestPlus, email us at [email protected].