Scaling Sustainably

HarvestPlus 2021 Annual Report

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2021 Key Metrics

Smallholder farming households growing biofortified crops, up 32% from 2020
Total beneficiaries in farming households
HarvestPlus/CGIAR biofortified crop varieties released in 2021 by governments in eight countries
HarvestPlus/CGIAR varieties released to date in 30 countries; hundreds more are in testing
Farmers and value chain actors trained in biofortified crop nutrition, agronomy, production, processing, and marketing
Percentage of trainees who are women (133,763)

A message from CEO Arun Baral

Dear Friends,
The war in Ukraine has provided another example of the vulnerability of our food systems to shocks. Beyond the human suffering and privation in Ukraine itself, the war added momentum to price upswings in food commodities globally, threatening millions more around the world with hunger and malnutrition. Higher fertilizer and energy prices also cast doubt on farmers’ ability to produce sufficient food in future growing seasons. The crisis underscores the urgency of crafting food systems that make nutritious food options affordable and accessible to all, including the hundreds of millions of smallholder farming households in low- and middle-income countries who mostly eat what they grow. The CGIAR’s HarvestPlus program and its partners contribute to this effort by scaling crop biofortification, which increases the vitamin and mineral (micronutrient) content of staples that rural households and low-income urban consumers rely on to fill their plates—especially during crisis periods.

2021 Highlights

New Scaling Commitments in a Summit Year

The UN Food Systems Summit and Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit made 2021 a landmark year for national governments to made bold new commitments in support of scaling up biofortification.

Scaling in Pakistan: Toward a Tipping Point

The first zinc wheat variety was only released in Pakistan in 2016, but a HarvestPlus-led scaling strategy has led to strong, sustainable growth since then.

Improving Livelihoods

See examples from Kenya, Bangladesh, and Uganda of how biofortified crops are not only improving nutrition of farming households but also creating livelihood opportunities.

Improving Nutrition at School

Adding biofortified foods to school meals programs is an efficient, cost-effective method of scaling reach to a priority population: children.

Reaching the Most Vulnerable

With NGO and other partners, we are empowering refugees and other high-risk groups to access and grow nutrient-enriched crops and foods.

Addressing the Climate Challenge

Many biofortified crop varieties are also climate-smart, which can offset climate-related losses in crops’ nutrient content and boost farming households’ resilience to drought and heat.

Country releases of biofortified crop varieties in 2021

Iron Crops
Rwanda: Bean (8) Zimbabwe: Cowpea
Zinc Crops
Bangladesh: Rice Colombia: Rice Pakistan: Wheat
Vitamin A Crops
Brazil: Sweet Potato Burundi: Banana/Plantain (5) Ghana: Maize (3)
(Numbers indicate multiple varieties released)
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Learn more about the crops

Zinc rice
Zinc wheat
Zinc maize
Vit. A cassava
Vit. A maize
Vit. A OSP
Iron bean
Iron pearl millet
HarvestPlus improves nutrition, health, and livelihoods by working with partners worldwide to develop and promote biofortified crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and are climate-smart. HarvestPlus also provides leadership on biofortification evidence and technology.
HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR and is based at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), a CGIAR research center.