Last month during the World Economic Forum in Davos, World Vision signed an agreement with HarvestPlus that committed both organisations to work together as they seek to improve nutrition for hundreds of millions of people that suffer from what is known as hidden hunger.
Hidden hunger is the absence in diets of crucial minerals and vitamins that puts both adults and children at risk of a variety of diseases and afflictions such as stunting, anemia, and even death. It is estimated that approximately one in three people suffer from hidden hunger with women and children at the greatest risk.
The new agreement sees both organisations combining to improve access to nutritious staple foods both for consumption at home and for sale at local markets.
Howarth Bouis Director for HarvestPlus says staple crops that are very nutritious are more readily available. There are over half a million cultivating such crops which provide higher levels of minerals and vitamins.
Mr. Bouis stressed that his organisation has limited reach and will have to work with partners who have experience in scaling up crop production. He added that World Vision has both the depth and reach needed to scale production in rural communities around the world. Both organisations are committed to exploring how best to do this together and gain a wider reach quickly with the most nutritious food.
The biofortication process is used to breed nutritious food crops. These varieties offer both higher yields and have greater resistance to pests and disease with some varieties even adapted to drought.
“World Vision is committed to improving nutrition for the world’s hungriest children, their families and communities. We can only do so much on our own. We believe more can be achieved by linking our comparative strengths with organizations like HarvestPlus, UN agencies like the World Food Programme, and companies like DSM.” said World Vision International President, Kevin Jenkins.
HarvestPlus and World Vision will begin their partnership by focusing on African countries such as Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania and Burundi.