This pilot project provided key insights into how OSP adoption can be successfully scaled up. For more details, see the project brief.
Delivering Biofortified Crops In 2010, HarvestPlus hired country managers to coordinate delivery activities in target countries where crops will first be released. Developing strong support and buy-in at the country level is critical to successfully delivering micronutrient-rich crops. In all countries, partnerships at the local and national level were cultivated throughout 2010. In Rwanda and Zambia, Net-Maps, a social network mapping analysis tool, were conducted to identify key stakeholders who could be influential in promoting or slowing down the delivery and adoption of the new crops. In Rwanda, Zambia, and India, studies to identify key market insights on the benefits of nutrient-rich crops in each country were conducted and will form the basis of brand development.
Country Programs HarvestPlus collaborates with national biofortification programs in Brazil, China, and India.
Brazil BioFORT Brasil is coordinated through Embrapa (the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) under the leadership of Marilia Nutti. Breeding efforts continue to develop nutrient-rich varieties of eight different crops: rice, sweet potato, bean, cowpea, cassava, maize, wheat, and pumpkin. Biofortified varieties of several of these
crops have already been released. The first seeds, stems, and cuttings of cultivars of higher nutritional level were delivered to the states of Maranhão and Sergipe, which have the lowest Human Development Indices in the country. During 2010, thirteen demonstration plots were put in place to distribute seeds and stems to small farmers. Field days were also held in several states and municipalities. Embrapa received a US$600,000 grant for 2011–2013 to conduct nutrition research on iron, zinc, and carotenoids in several crops and zinc and iron fertilization of wheat. The Embrapa biofortification website and blog were also launched.
China HarvestPlus China, which is coordinated through the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, is developing high micronutrient varieties of rice, wheat, maize, and sweet potato. In 2010, a new rice variety, “Zhongguangxiang 1,” with high yield, premium grain quality, and medium iron content (6.5 ppm) in the polished rice was officially released in Guangxi Province. Polished rice typically contains 2 ppm of iron. Ten vitamin A-rich sweet potato cultivars were planted on demonstration plots in 7 provinces where the prevalence of vitamin A deficiency is high. More than 20,000 virusfree sweet potato plants have been tissue cultured for dissemination to poor farmers.
India In 2010, HarvestPlus signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Indian Government’s Department of Biotechnology and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research to expand biofortification research in India. This MOU was negotiated over several months and facilitated by Dr. Kedar Rai, who directs HarvestPlus partnerships with the Indian agricultural research institutions. HarvestPlus collaborates with Indian scientists to develop biofortified rice, wheat, pearl millet, and sorghum. Dr. Rai also continues his responsibilities as head of breeding for high-iron pearl millet at ICRISAT.
Brazilian farmer on an Embrapa sweet potato demonstration plot. (Photo: Embrapa)
This report provides highlights from HarvestPlus activities in 2010.