World Vision International
article • Tuesday, January 28th 2014

A new partnership for global nutrition

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HarvestPlus's Howarth Bouis (left) shakes hands with World Vision's Kevin Jenkins.

On 23 January, World Vision signed a memorandum of understanding with HarvestPlus at the World Economic Forum in Davos, making a commitment to work with them to improve nutrition for hundreds of millions of people around the world who suffer from hidden hunger.

HarvestPlus leads a global effort to improve nutrition and public health by developing and disseminating staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health.

What is hidden hunger?

Hidden hunger is caused by a chronic lack of critical vitamins and minerals that puts children and adults at increased risk of stunting, anaemia, blindness, infectious diseases and even death. One in three people globally suffer from hidden hunger and women and children are especially vulnerable.

The partnership will focus on improving access to nutritious staple food crops – for home consumption and to sell in local markets – for vulnerable farming communities.

"More nutritious staple food crops are now available," said Howarth Bouis, director – HarvestPlus. "About half a million farmers are already growing them and there is an established pipeline for new varieties with even higher levels of vitamins and minerals.

World Vision has the reach and depth of experience... to reach more people, more quickly

“However, our reach is limited. We need to work with partners who can scale-up these crops. World Vision has the reach and depth of experience needed to spread these crops through rural communities worldwide. We're committed to exploring how we can do this together – to reach more people, more quickly, with nutritious foods."

 These nutritious food crops have been bred through the biofortification process, which uses conventional plant breeding methods. Not only are varieties higher yielding, they have more resistance to disease and pests, while several varieties are better adapted to drought.

“World Vision is committed to improving nutrition for the world’s hungriest children, their families and communities,” said Kevin Jenkins, president, World Vision International. “We can only do so much on our own. We believe more can be achieved by linking our comparative strengths with organisations like HarvestPlus, United Nations agencies like the World Food Programme, and companies like DSM.”

World Vision and HarvestPlus will launch the partnership by focusing on Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

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