HarvestPlus and IFFCO Kisan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the reach and impact of nutrient-enriched staple crops across India. HarvestPlus and IFFCO Kisan will work together to scale up biofortified crops – specifically, iron pearl millet and zinc wheat – as a cost-effective way to address micronutrient malnutrition. The collaboration will also focus on conducting farmer trainings, crop demonstrations, improving farmers’ access to finance, input markets, output markets and supporting policy advocacy efforts to create an enabling environment for biofortification.
Elaborating the partnership, Sandeep Malhotra, MD, IFFCO Kisan said, “IFFCO Kisan is a farmer-centric organisation with a vision to improve the quality of life of farmers through its technological and on-ground services. We have been long propagating – ‘safe and healthy food’ grown sustainably which reflects in the work done by with millions of farmers in partnerships with CCAFS for Climate Smart Villages and its group members in BISA, IRRI, ICRISAT and other like-minded partners but also the empowerment of over a million farmers.”
“The partnership with HarvestPlus which is leading the commercialisation of biofortified crops, advances our commitment and resolve in promoting this to the farmers by addressing the pressing need of mitigating malnutrition, especially among the small and marginal farmers. Our joint efforts should not only sensitise farmers at large about the ‘hidden hunger’ due to deficiency of key micro-nutrients – zinc, iron and others) but also contribute to improving nation’s food system,” Malhotra added.
You may also like to read: Agri scientists now have advance tools for plant breeding
Highlighting the collaboration, Arun Baral, CEO, HarvestPlus said. “The partnership will leverage the partners’ respective areas of expertise in mission-driven agricultural development. HarvestPlus is the global leader in all aspects of staple crop biofortification, while IFFCO Kisan has decades of experience supporting smallholder farmers along the agricultural value chain through its wide array of services like mobile advisory, IFFCO Kisan Agriculture App, and Kisan Call Centre. The process of commercialising surplus biofortified grains has already begun under the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) programme, which is co-led by HarvestPlus and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). By developing commercial markets for surplus biofortified crops that are primarily grown by smallholder farming families, the CBC programme will help create a sustainable basis for improving diet quality and tackling hidden hunger among both farmers and consumers.”
IFFCO Kisan works towards empowering farmers by educating and training them on modern sustainable agriculture practices, through need-based customised voice-based agricultural advisories via mobile as well as ICT-based value-added services (VAS). IFFCO Kisan’s end-to-end intervention model intends to help a farmer with the timely decisions making ability right from the pre-sowing period till harvest and market linkage.
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. Through the work of HarvestPlus and its many partners, nearly 400 varieties of biofortified crops have been released in 40 countries around the world.