Two billion people lack essential vitamins and minerals. One solution for tackling this “hidden hunger” unites agriculture and nutrition to improve the health and livelihoods of smallholder farming families – still the majority of the population in developing countries. This process, biofortification, uses conventional crop breeding to enrich the seeds of widely-consumed staple food crops with vitamin A, iron, and zinc, nutrients the World Health Organization has identified as the most deficient in diets globally. More than 100 biofortified varieties of 14 staple food crops are now available, including rice, wheat, maize, beans, sweet potato, cassava and pearl millet. Twenty-six million people are currently growing and eating these healthier foods worldwide, and millions more stand to benefit.
Dr. Howarth Bouis was awarded the 2016 World Food Prize, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize" for agriculture, along with three other biofortification pioneers. He is the founder of HarvestPlus, which works with more than 200 partners worldwide to scale up access to biofortified foods. Please join us to hear Dr. Bouis describe what lies ahead. How does biofortification complement other approaches to micronutrient deficiency? What role have U.S. researchers and policymakers played in achieving successes to date? What are the challenges to scaling up across different countries, crops, and seed systems?