10 February 2022, New Delhi: HarvestPlus and IFFCO Kisan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the reach and impact of nutrient-enriched staple crops across India.
HarvestPlus and IFFCO Kisan will work together to scale up biofortified crops specifically, Iron Pearl Millet and Zinc Wheat – as a cost-effective way to address micronutrient malnutrition. The collaboration will also focus on conducting farmer trainings, crop demonstrations, improving farmers’ access to finance, input markets, and output markets, and support policy advocacy efforts to create an enabling environment for biofortification.
Sandeep Malhotra, MD, IFFCO Kisan said, “IFFCO Kisan is a farmer centric organization with a vision to improve the quality of life of farmers through its technological and on-ground services. We have been long propagating – ‘safe and healthy food’ grown sustainably which reflects in the work done with millions of farmers in partnerships with CCAFS for Climate Smart Villages and its group members in BISA, IRRI, ICRISAT and other like-minded partners. The partnership with HarvestPlus which is leading the commercialization of Biofortified crops, advances our commitment and resolve in promoting this to the small and marginal farmers by addressing the pressing need of mitigating malnutrition. Our joint efforts should not only sensitize farmers at large about the ‘Hidden hunger’ (due to deficiency of key micro-nutrients – zinc, iron, etc.), but also contribute to improving Nation’s food system.”
Arun Baral, CEO of HarvestPlus, highlighted that “The partnership will leverage the partners’ respective areas of expertise in mission-driven agricultural development. HarvestPlus is the global leader in all aspects of staple crop biofortification, while IFFCO Kisan has decades of experience supporting smallholder farmers along the agricultural value chain through its wide array of services like mobile advisory, IFFCO Kisan Agriculture App, and Kisan Call Centre. The process of commercializing surplus biofortified grains has already begun under the Commercialisation of Biofortified Crops (CBC) Programme, which is co-led by HarvestPlus and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). By developing commercial markets for surplus biofortified crops that are primarily grown by smallholder farming families, the CBC Programme will help create a sustainable basis for improving diet quality and tackling hidden hunger among both farmers and consumers.”