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HarvestPlus and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology Join Forces to Accelerate Biofortification Research in India

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07 June 2023, Odisha: A landmark collaboration between HarvestPlus and Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) was established on June 1, 2023 to strengthen biofortification research in Odisha state. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the organizations reinforces the significance of biofortification as a cost-effective and sustainable agricultural approach to combat micronutrient malnutrition.

During the signing ceremony, Prof. Pravat Kumar Roul, the Honourable Vice Chancellor of OUAT, emphasized the critical role that biofortification can play as an agricultural-nutrition solution to add more essential nutrients into the diets of families in the state of Odisha.

The partnership between HarvestPlus and OUAT will enhance the Indian crop improvement program for biofortification, develop food processing technologies, and utilize Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) knowledge network—of the National Agricultural Research System—to raise awareness about nutrition and the benefits of biofortified crops.

The MOU was signed by Dr. Dayanidhi Mishra, OUAT Director, Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, and Binu Cherian, Country Manager of HarvetPlus India. Cherian expressed his confidence in the collaborative partnership’s ability to strengthen and expand the reach of biofortification in Odisha to more of its most vulnerable community members and ensure greater access to healthy diets that make a meaningful impact.

Biofortification is a process that increases the nutritional value of staple food crops, and offers a sustainable solution that can help transform food systems, particularly in resource-constrained geographies. By enhancing the levels of essential vitamins and minerals in crops, biofortification improves the nutrient intake of vulnerable populations and helps alleviate widespread micronutrient deficiencies that contributes to a loss of human potential.

The HarvestPlus-OUAT partnership signifies a significant step forward in the fight against hidden hunger in one of India’s most vulnerable states and reinforces both organization’s commitment to improving public health and nutrition outcomes. By combining HarvestPlus’ decades of expertise developing and scaling up biofortification with OUAT’s academic rigor and skill generating new technologies and transferring them to farmers and stakeholders, the organizations will accelerate the adoption of biofortification and improve the population’s resilience.

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