HarvestPlus and Grameen Foundation India have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to increase food, nutrition, and livelihoods security through the production, consumption, and marketing of conventionally bred biofortified crops in India.
The collaboration will focus on health and nutrition initiatives, along with financial inclusion and agriculture-based livelihoods, to enable vulnerable populations (especially women) to overcome poverty and hidden hunger. These initiatives will be led by women agripreneurs known as Grameen Mittras, who will provide doorstep availability of various services and develop a personal connection with farmers through regular interactions, thereby cultivating good faith and trust with them.
These Grameen Mittras are also transforming their own lives by learning new skills, generating income, and increasing their financial independence. Under this engagement, a pilot with biofortified zinc wheat has been undertaken in Uttar Pradesh under the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) programme, which is co-led by HarvestPlus and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)This pilot focuses on training and capacity building of smallholder farmers (with at least 30 per cent women farmers), awareness generation on the cultivation of biofortified crops, and enhancing knowledge of farmers and farmer production organisations (FPOs) on pre-harvest and post-harvest loss and its management.
“We are delighted with this partnership with HarvestPlus, as it directly helps in advancing our mission to overcome poverty and hunger,” said Prabhat Labh, CEO, Grameen Foundation India. “By working closely with the farmer producer organisations and progressive farmers, we are popularising the adoption of biofortified seed varieties, which will go a long way in addressing micronutrient deficiency. Biofortified wheat produced on 1,600 acres in this rabi season will be adequate to meet consumption and nutrition supplement needs of over 60,000 individuals,” he added.
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“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Grameen Foundation to help scale up production and consumption of nutrient-enriched crops in India,” said Arun Baral, CEO, HarvestPlus. “The focus on women agripreneurs, in particular, is in line with our strategic priority of engaging and empowering women as farmers, family members, and entrepreneurs,” he added.
Grameen Foundation India
Grameen Foundation India specialises in designing and implementing innovative programmes to facilitate access to finance, livelihood opportunities, and health and nutrition information amongst low-income people, especially women. GFI addresses demand side and supply side barriers through scalable models, the use of technology applications, and innovative partnerships and work closely with the private sector, governments, agriculture and health implementers, mobile network operators and value-added service providers, financial institutions, and other stakeholders to prime our solutions for adoption and scale.
HarvestPlus improves nutrition and health by working with partners to develop and promote biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR and is based at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Through the work of HarvestPlus and its many partners, more than 270 varieties of biofortified crops have been released in 30 countries around the world.