For more than a decade, HarvestPlus and its Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and national partners have developed over 150 varieties of 11 micronutrient-rich staples, including rice, wheat, maize, sweet potato, beans, cassava and pearl millet, that are being grown in more than 30 countries (19 in Africa) and tested for release in another 25 (15 in Africa). With the exception of orange sweet potato which was available earlier, the remaining ten biofortified crops have been actively disseminated since 2012, and 15 million people are already growing and consuming these nutrient-rich varieties, over 80% of whom are in Africa. As a program coordinated by 2 international agricultural research centers in the CGIAR, HarvestPlus is research-oriented and evidence-based. This special issue compiles and presents existing evidence on biofortification, identifies knowledge gaps, and discusses how to leverage biofortification to improve nutrition and health, especially in Africa.
In addition to reviewing the research and evidence that the CGIAR and its partners have gathered, this issue includes some of the first articles by practitioners, assessing the delivery experience of biofortified crops across several countries and through various delivery channels. By now, we know well the success story of vitamin A orange sweet potato (OSP), which reduces the risk of vitamin A deficiency among those who consume it. Recent research suggests additional health benefits, including reduced prevalence and duration of diarrhea in children under five who consume OSP. The well-known OSP story is now joined by success stories of iron beans, vitamin A cassava, and vitamin A maize.
This work is an output of the HarvestPlus Programme. The Department for International Development is one of the main donors for HarvestPlus.
Oniang’o, Ruth. 2017. African Journal of Food, Agriculture and Development17 (2): Special Issue Devoted to Biofortification.
African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development: Special Issue devoted to Biofortification