Eugenia Saini is currently FONTAGRO’s Executive Secretary. FONTAGRO is the Regional Fund for Agricultural Technology. She leads the investment fund and a portfolio of 70 international operations related to science, technology, and innovation for the Latin America and the Caribbean region. She is from Argentina and is an agronomist by training. She holds a doctorate in agricultural sciences, specializing in total factor productivity analysis. One of her seminal works in this field was the estimation of 120 years of TFP for the agricultural sector in Argentina. She is also a National Public Accountant and holds an MS in Food and Agribusiness and an MS in Applied Economics, both from Universidad de Buenos Aires. She has worked in the private and public sectors, both nationally and internationally, especially in multilateral banks. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at Cornell University and, more recently, with the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) Scholarship at the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C.
GAP Report Technical Partners HarvestPlus and GAIN Working Together to Accelerate Access to Nutrient-Rich Staple Food Crops
October 15, 2019
Two billion people worldwide suffer from micronutrient deficiency because they cannot afford a diverse, nourishing diet. This “hidden hunger” makes them vulnerable to disease, disability, and even death. Solutions include vitamin and mineral supplements; commercially fortified foods; and an innovative approach known as biofortification.
Using conventional crop breeding techniques, this process naturally enriches staple food crops with vitamin A, iron or zinc. Today, more than 300 varieties of vitamin A maize, cassava and sweet potato; iron-rich beans and pearl millet; high-zinc maize, rice and wheat, and other food crops, are available or in testing in 60 countries around the world. With leadership from HarvestPlus within the CGIAR system, and the efforts of hundreds of other partners, more than 50 million people in rural households have been reached. Clinical trials have proven that biofortified crops reduce diarrhea and pneumonia, improve night vision and cognitive and physical performance, and reverse iron deficiency.
HarvestPlus and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) are now partnering to bring the benefits of biofortification to millions more. Howdy Bouis, the founding director of HarvestPlus, and Lawrence Haddad, the current Executive Director of GAIN, are both World Food Prize laureates whose early research laid the groundwork for today’s global biofortification movement.
The partnership, which has received funding from the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, focuses on commercializing and expanding the reach and coverage of biofortified crops in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tanzania. The partnership draws on GAIN’s track record of working with private companies to create sustainable market models for nutritious foods, and HarvestPlus’ pipeline of biofortified crops; strong research and development partnerships; and delivery work to farmers.