A Colombian farmer poses in his field planted with zinc maize. Photo: HarvestPlus
On May 23, HarvestPlus announced a major new commitment by the government of the United Kingdom to support research in biofortified crops aimed at improving the health and nutrition of nearly 14 million households in low- and middle-income countries by 2022.
The UK Department for International Development (DFID) said the 33 million-pound (approximately $42 million) commitment will go in part to fund work of the HarvestPlus biofortification program, which focuses on eight crops: iron beans and pearl millet; vitamin A maize, cassava, and sweet potato; and zinc maize, rice, and wheat. More than 200 HarvestPlus-supported biofortified crop varieties have been released or are in testing so far in 30 countries.
“By harnessing climate and nutrition-smart technologies like biofortified crops, we can improve the livelihoods of thousands of women and girls,” said DFID Chief Scientist Charlotte Watts in a press release from DFID about the new funding. “These crops are not just more resilient to droughts and diseases but provide a sustainable source of much needed nutrients to rural communities.”
HarvestPlus leads A4NH research on biofortification. To learn more about the program and the funding, please read the full announcement on the HarvestPlus website.