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BNFB Advocacy strategy for scaling up biofortified crops for nutrition security in Tanzania, 2016–2020

Although biofortification is yet to be fully scaled up in any country (Bouis, Low, McEwan & Tanumihardjo, 2013), Tanzania has made some initial progress. It was among the five countries that implemented the Reaching Agents of Change (RAC) project from 2011 to 2015. That project focused on advocacy for increased investment in OFSP to combat vitamin A deficiency among young children and women of reproductive age and also built institutional capacities to design and implement gender-sensitive projects to ensure wide access and utilization of OFSP. Through the RAC project, 17 national advocates were trained to engage in building awareness and advocacy for investment in OFSP. RAC raised about USD 4 million for OFSP projects and programs, 3.2% of which came from local government authorities (LGAs).
This advocacy strategy for scaling up of biofortification for nutrition security in Tanzania is informed by the outcomes and recommendations of the situation analysis. It identifies the key mechanisms, institutions and partnerships that are necessary to scale up biofortification in the country. The strategy presents broad and specific strategies to scale-up biofortification by 2020.
The latter are priority areas and practical for delivery by the BNFB project. The broad strategies are critically important but require extra resources, partnerships and time that may not be immediately available for BNFB project.

BNFB Biofortification and Biofortified Crops Report for Tanzania

Biofortification is implemented in Tanzania although not across the country. It is adopted as an approach to complement the efforts to reduce micronutrient deficiencies. Biofortification is the process of breeding nutrients into food crops through conventional methods. It provides a sustainable, long-term strategy for delivering micronutrients to rural populations in developing countries (Saltzman et al., 2013). Evidence shows that biofortification offers the most effective, sustainable, least-cost delivery model to supply the micronutrients of nutritional importance, namely iron, zinc, vitamin A, lysine and tryptophan. For instance, consuming 125 g of most orangefleshed sweetpotato (OFSP) varieties can supply the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A for children and non-lactating mothers (Waized et al., 2015). Some of the biofortified crops such as PVA maize and OFSP have been introduced in the country.
Although biofortification is yet to be fully scaled up in any country (Thompson & Amoroso, 2011), Tanzania has made some initial progress. The country was among the five countries that implemented the RAC project from 2011 to 2014. That project focused on advocacy for increased investment in OFSP to combat vitamin A deficiency (VAD) among young children and women of reproductive age and also built the institutional capacity to design and implement gender-sensitive projects to ensure wide access and utilization of OFSP. Through the RAC project, 17 country advocates were trained to engage in creating awareness and undertaking advocacy for investment in OFSP, and about USD 4 million was raised for OFSP, 3.2% of which came from local government authorities.

Report on bio-fortification and thematic areas of Building Nutritious Food Baskets Project, Nigeria

This situation analysis employed multiple approaches. Data collection was in two phases. The first stage involved a desk review and content analysis of several documents in which preliminary answers to the specific objectives of the situation analysis were identified. The output from that was a report with preliminary conclusions to be tested during the field visits. The second phase involved field visits and consultations with relevant stakeholders. The main instruments for data collection were questionnaires, a focus group discussion guide and a key informant interview guide. In all, 420 farmers and 735 consumers were systematically and randomly selected to participate in the situation analysis. Qualitative and quantitative techniques were employed in the data analysis. The data collected through the questionnaire were analyzed statistically by relevant descriptive statistics including frequency, percentage, mean, median and cross-tabulation. All data were analyzed with SPSS.
The specific objectives of situation analysis were to:  Use available data and other information to accurately identify the key actors in scaling up biofortified crops and the trends and patterns of consumption of biofortified crops and their products, disaggregated by relevant segments of the country and of the population;  Identify and analyze the barriers and bottlenecks that prevent disadvantaged groups from accessing and benefiting from biofortification, including the social, political and economic conditions that result in shortfalls in the creation of an enabling environment for the scaling up of biofortification;  Assess the current investment pattern in biofortification and the main donors to approach to unlock increased investments in biofortification;  Analyze the extent to which biofortification is prioritized in national policies, law, strategies, plans and budgets;

BNFB Infographic

This is an Info-graphic by the Building Nutritious Food Project which shows the role of Bio-fortification which is the process of increasing nutritional value of food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop.

Building Nutritious Food Basket: A Situational Analysis of Regional Investments, Policies, Legislation and Advocacy Efforts on Food-based Approaches to Combating Micronutrient Deficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa: Focus on Biofortification

This situation analysis report provides a snapshot of the regional and subregional policies and frameworks that support biofortification and the organizations implementing various nutritionsensitive initiatives. The report identifies some ongoing initiatives that are relevant to the BNFB mandate and that can be aligned to its activities to facilitate its starting up and scaling up. The report recommends the key actions necessary to facilitate increased investment in and scaling up of biofortified crops in sub-Saharan Africa. It also provides guidance on the broad strategic areas that could form the focus in the development of a regional advocacy strategy for the BNFB Project, and serve as the basis of a plan of work for biofortification advocacy champions for stimulating sustainable investments in the production and consumption of biofortified crops.

Building Nutritious Food Basket: Regional Advocacy Strategy, 2017 and beyond

BNFB’s regional advocacy strategy aims to use available evidence to influence Africa-wide, regional and subregional decision-makers, planners and donors to adopt and invest in biofortified crops as part of a comprehensive package of strategies to address the main micronutrient deficiencies in the continent. A regional advocacy strategy needs to capitalize on the strengths existing at the regional and subregional levels. The strategy needs to adopt a holistic approach in its efforts to promote investments in biofortification and, in particular, in vitamin A cassava, maize and OFSP, and high iron beans. It should closely align itself with the ongoing initiatives for improving food and nutrition security in Africa and the prevailing policy environment as enunciated by key regional bodies such as the African Union (AU) and its implementing agency, the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Furthermore, weaknesses should be identified and considered, and approaches devised to minimize them. The threats to the scaling up of biofortification should also be factored into the regional advocacy strategy.
The strategy focuses on three broad objectives:  Influence regional and subregional organizations to incorporate biofortification into policies and strategies to address micronutrient deficiencies;  Promote investments in biofortified crops to address micronutrient (especially vitamin A and iron) deficiencies in SSA through regional and subregional organizations, donors, NGOs and the private sector;  Create demand for comprehensive solutions to the micronutrient problem.

Building Nutritious Food Baskets: Communication Plan

This Building Nutrtious Food Baskets communication plan for 2016–2018 provides a road map on how the project will integrate and monitor behavior change communication and promotion, awareness creation and advocacy activities for the biofortified crops during its implementation. The plan outlines the details on the various BNFB communication products, target audiences, responsibility allocation, and time frames, which will provide the basis for monitoring the plan. It also deals with the approaches considered appropriate for communication and awareness creation that will underpin the effective implementation of BNFB and the achievement of the expected outcomes, which are intended to have impact at national, regional and global levels.

Fighting Iron Deficiency-New Improved High-iron and Zinc Beans Released in Tanzania

The high-iron beans are a special type of conventionally bred biofortified beans that contain high levels of iron and zinc. Biofortification enhances the nutritional value of staple food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding, agronomic practices or biotechnology. Examples of these vitamins and minerals that can be increased through biofortification include iron, zinc and provitamin A Carotenoids. The research and release efforts were led by Selian Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) in partnership with ARI Uyole, ARI Maruku and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The efforts were supported through the partners at the Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), TheBuilding Nutritious Food Baskets (BNFB) project, Tropical Legume III projects, Swiss Development Corporation (SDC), The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Global Canada Affairs. Together with farmers, these new varieties were tested in various agro-ecologies ranging from 1000 to 2000m above sea level in the regions of Arusha, Manyara, Kagera, Iringa and Mbeya. Studies were also conducted to ensure that these new crops have sufficient amounts of the nutrients needed to improve nutrition among the beneficiaries prior to the the national government official release.