Biofortified staple crops benefit the food supply chain, from the producers to the consumers — reducing the risk of being compromised by pandemics or other threats.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that people everywhere need good nutrition to be resilient in the face of health threats and lead productive lives.
For smallholder farming families and other vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries, nutrition deficiencies can be particularly debilitating, threatening these families’ health, livelihood, and ability to withstand shocks, including pandemics.
HarvestPlus and its partners address this by getting micronutrient-rich, biofortified varieties of staple crops on the plates of these farming families and other vulnerable populations.
In Colombia, 13 percent of children under five are stunted (low height for their age.) Zinc plays an essential role in maintaining optimal childhood growth and a healthy immune system. HarvestPlus released the first hybrid variety of zinc maize in the country in 2019, offering an opportunity for additional nutrition and income for the country’s coffee farmers.
Such health-boosting varieties of maize are aimed at resource-poor families or rural communities who rely on staple crops for much of their diet because they can’t afford to eat nutritionally diverse diets.