17 February 2022, New Delhi: HarvestPlus and Grameen Foundation India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase food, nutrition, and livelihoods security through the production, consumption, and marketing of conventionally bred biofortified crops in India.
The collaboration will focus on health and nutrition initiatives, along with financial inclusion and agriculture-based livelihoods, to enable vulnerable populations (especially women) to overcome poverty and hidden hunger. These initiatives will be led by women agripreneurs known as Grameen Mittras, who will provide doorstep availability of various services and develop a personal connection with farmers through regular interactions, thereby cultivating good faith and trust with them.
These Grameen Mittras are also transforming their own lives by learning new skills, generating income, and increasing their financial independence. Under this engagement, a pilot with biofortified zinc wheat has been undertaken in Uttar Pradesh under the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) Programme, which is co-led by HarvestPlus and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN)This pilot focuses on training and capacity building of smallholder farmers (with at least 30 percent women farmers), awareness generation on the cultivation of biofortified crops, and enhancing knowledge of farmers and Farmer Production Organizations (FPOs) on pre-harvest and post-harvest loss and its management.
“We are delighted with this partnership with HarvestPlus, as it directly helps in advancing our mission to overcome poverty and hunger,” said Prabhat Labh, CEO of Grameen Foundation India. “By working closely with the Farmer Producer Organizations and progressive farmers, we are popularizing the adoption of biofortified seed varieties, which will go a long way in addressing micronutrient deficiency. Biofortified wheat produced on 1,600 acres in this rabi season will be adequate to meet consumption and nutrition supplement needs of over 60,000 individuals,” he added.
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Grameen Foundation to help scale up production and consumption of nutrient enriched crops in India,” said Arun Baral, CEO of HarvestPlus. “The focus on women agripreneurs in particular is in line with our strategic priority of engaging and empowering women as farmers, family members, and entrepreneurs,” he added.