Biofortification is one of the sustainable and cost-effective ways of addressing micronutrient malnutrition. Biofortification efforts are gaining global recognition and impacting on millions of people by addressing food insecurity especially in Africa. This year’s World Food Prize has been awarded to four laureates in recognition of their efforts in developing food crops that are rich in micronutrients (essential minerals and vitamins). Their efforts have impacted an estimated 10 million people affected by hidden hunger and starvation. Three of the laureates, Dr. Maria Andrade of Cape Verde, Dr. Robert Mwanga of Uganda, and Dr. Jan Low of the United States are from the International Potato Centre (CIP) while Dr. Howarth Bouis is from Harvestplus . The scientists have been honored for their contribution to biofortification and for developing and improving nutrition and health through the single most successful example of micronutrient and vitamin A biofortification, popularly known as the orange-fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP)
Through the combined efforts of our four Laureates and many other people, over 10 million persons are now positively impacted by biofortified crops, with a potential of several hundred million more having their nutrition and health enhanced in the coming decades. http://www.worldfoodprize.org/index.cfm?NodeID=86821&AudienceID=1&preview=1
Efforts by CIP and partners to promote and upscale biofortified staple crops are still continuing. One such example is through the CIP– led initiative on ‘Building Nutritious Food Baskets (BNFB) implemented in Nigeria and Tanzania. The project has an overall goal of reducing hidden hunger and purposes to demonstrate how scaling up of “multiple biofortified crops” can be achieved. BNFB explores a multi-crop (‘food basket’) approach through advocating for increased investment in biofortified crops as a sustainable way to combat micronutrient malnutrition. The project mainly targets the rural populations, especially young children under the age of five and women of reproductive age. The multiple crops include vitamin A-rich orange-fleshed sweetpotato, vitamin A yellow cassava, vitamin A-rich yellow maize and high iron beans. BNFB also focuses on developing institutional capacities to design and implement gender-sensitive programs and projects to ensure wide access and utilization of biofortified crops.
BNFB is implemented through a consortium of partners. CIP is the lead partner, working with four CGIAR centers and programs, governments of Tanzania and Nigeria and other regional and national partners working on nutritious staple crops including;
- The International Potato Center (CIP) with expertise in orange fleshed sweetpotato (OFSP)
- The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) with expertise in high iron beans
- The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) with expertise in vitamin A (orange) maize
- The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) with expertise in vitamin A (yellow) cassava and vitamin A (orange) maize
- HarvestPlus as the global leader in biofortification with experience in scaling up at the country level
- Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) which is responsible for policy engagement and advocacy at regional level
- Government of Tanzania and Nigeria
- Other implementing regional and national partners (public, private and civil society)
Find out more about the project in this video.