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HarvestPlus Partners with IFFCO Kisan to Expand the Reach of Nutrient-Enriched Staple Crops

The collaboration will also focus on conducting farmer training, crop demonstrations, improving farmers’ access to finance, input markets, and output markets, and supporting policy advocacy efforts to create an enabling environment for biofortification.

Shivam Dwivedi
Picture taken during MoU signing ceremony
Picture taken during MoU signing ceremony

HarvestPlus and IFFCO Kisan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the reach and impact of nutrient-enriched staple crops across India. Both will work together to scale up bio-fortified 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 training, crop demonstrations, improving farmers’ access to finance, input markets, and output markets, and supporting 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.”

About IFFCO Kisan

IFFCO Kisan works towards empowering farmers by educating and training them on modern sustainable agriculture practices, through need-based customized voice-based agricultural advisories via mobile as well as ICT-based Value Added Services (VAS). IFFCO Kisan’s end-to-end intervention model intends to help a farmer with the timely decisions making ability right from the pre-sowing period till harvest and market linkage.

IFFCO Kisan’s large agro-based knowledge library and agri-experts’ team provide hand-hold support to farmers, farmers’ club, Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs)/ Farmer Producer Organization (FPOs), etc. throughout the production chain helping improve the quality and quantity of produce.

About HarvestPlus

HarvestPlus improves nutrition and health by working with partners to develop and promote biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals and providing global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR and is based at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Through the work of HarvestPlus and its many partners, nearly 400 varieties of biofortified crops have been released in 40 countries around the world.

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