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May 25, 2012

Biofortified Food Campaign in Latin America Strengthens Outreach

Promoting Biofortified Food in Latin America and the Caribbean - HarvestPlus and AgroSalud Form New Partnership

HarvestPlus has teamed with AgroSalud to increase its efforts to provide biofortified food in Latin America and the Caribbean.  AgroSalud is a project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and administered by CIAT (Center for International Tropical Agriculture), one of CGIAR's 15 international agricultural centers.  AgroSalud coordinates efforts of three CGIAR international centers and also teams with Brazil's agricultural research center, Embrapa.  

Biofortified foods include QPM (quality protein maize),
subject of this conference in El Salvador that
was attended by AgroSalud experts
AgroSalud is working in 13 countries to improve nutrition through the introduction of conventionally hybridized, biofortified food crops.  This includes beans, cassava, corn, rice, and sweet potatoes. Some the new crops have higher levels of vitamin A, protein, or iron.  Outreach programs are targeted in both rural and urban areas, and especially at school meal programs.

With the new partnership between HarvestPlus and Agro-Salud, their mutual programs on biofortified food can be coordinated. According to HarvestPlus Director Howarth Bouis, “This now allows us to expand and align biofortification in LAC [Latin America and the Caribbean] with our programs in Sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia."

Under the new program, Marilia Nutti, who heads up Embrapa's BioFort program will become head of the HarvestPlus and Agro-Salud Latin American and Caribbean programs. Under BioFort, she has been responsible for building a Brazilian network of 150 partners including 11 Embrapa units, numerous universities, state government, NGOs, farmer associations, and researchers.  This collaboration has led to the release of over 10 ten different biofortified food crop varieties including cowpeas and cassava.

For more see:

"HarvestPlus Extends Reach in Latin America & Caribbean," HarvestPlus, 15 May 2012.

AgroSalud - Feeding Ambitions (YouTube.com)

Biofortication in Brazil (YouTube.com)

Feeding Ambitions - Improving Childhood Nutrition in Colombia, Agro-Salud (Vimeo, 2011)

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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