HarvestPlus Named Semi-Finalist in MacArthur Foundation Competition for $100million grant

   HarvestPlus is one of the eight 100& Change semi-finalists to receive $100 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

    The competition seeks bold solutions to critical problems of our time.

     The World Health Organization estimates that malnutrition contributes to 3.1 million deaths of children under-five every year, almost half of all deaths for that age group.

   “We know that good nutrition is an essential building block for growth and development. Sadly, many children in rural Africa and other parts of the developing world still suffer from the devastating effects of ‘hidden hunger.’ They may not be visibly hungry, but their basic diets lack the essential micronutrients for good health,” says HarvestPlus Chief Executive Officer, HarvestPlus, Beverly Postma.

   “HarvestPlus has already reached 20 million people worldwide and our goal is to reach one billion people by 2030. We can do this only with the help of partners, such as the MacArthur Foundation,” she added.

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HarvestPlus Recognized As Global food Innovator

HarvestPlus has been selected as a 2017 LAUNCH Food Innovator for its pioneering work in making staple food crops more nutritious and available to rural communities around the world.

HarvestPlus, along with its global partners, develops new, more nutritious varieties of sweet potatoes, beans, maize, cassava, pearl millet, wheat and rice. These improved varieties provide higher amounts of vitamin A, iron, and zinc — three of the four micronutrients identified by the World Health Organization as most lacking in diets globally.

   “Biofortification is incredibly beneficial to vulnerable groups in rural farming communities, such as women and children,” said HarvestPlus CEO Bev Postma, adding that HarvestPlus aims to reach one billion people with biofortified staple crops by the year 2030.

“With the support of groups such as LAUNCH, we can realize our vision of a world free from the devastating social and economic effects of hidden hunger,” she said.

 

 

 

HarvestPlus Hosts Over 150 Investors at Business Forum

 

—Targets 500,000MT Demand for Biofortified Crops and Foods In 2017

HarvestPlus hosted over 150 farmers, extension agents, food processors and marketers at the first edition of its bi-monthly business forum to stimulate increased investment and bridge the supply gap in the biofortified seeds and foods value chain.

    The forum was organized for stakeholders in the biofortified seeds and foods sector to share experiences, challenges and successes recorded in the course of commercializing vitamin A cassava and vitamin A maize in Nigeria.

    The deliberations at the forum is expected to foster strong commitment by investors to key into the various investment opportunities in the biofortified crops value chain and also have a ripple effect among smallholder farmers and medium scale investors, both of whom are expected to form farming clusters around processing centers for greater efficiency and profitability.

    Sharing his experience as a key player in the value chain, Provost, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, (FECA), Dr. Samson Odedina, said the forum was timely as it was obvious that the demand for biofortified foods far exceeded supply.

   According to him, “In 2016, students and other investors in my College made well over N50 million ($158,730) in the sales of biofortified crops and foods. The demand for the products is growing. It is becoming evident that our production is not enough for the market. This is why this forum is important. We need everyone here and even more people to get involved.”

    HarvestPlus Country Manager, Dr. Paul Ilona, said the turnout of investors at the forum points to the growing adoption of biofortified crops by Nigerians. He added that this called for a marshal plan that would ensure the rural poor in Nigeria can access and afford biofortified crops and foods.

   “We project 500,000Mt demand for biofortified crops and foods in Nigeria in 2017. Small scale enterprises are short of flour to make combobites. Processors are in constant demand for roots. All these gaps require farmers with keen business acumen to spot and exploit. This must be done because the need to tackle micronutrient deficiency is rising by the day. We cannot afford to let malnutrition win this war,” he said.

 

   The next edition of the business forum holds on March 31 at FECA, Ondo State. It promises to engage even more stakeholders across the Nigeria. 

 

 

 

 

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