- Community engagement
- Environmental sustainability
- Gender balance & diversity
- Individuals & Families
- Rural development
Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional value of food crops is improved through biological means such as conventional plant breeding. It differs from conventional fortification in that biofortification aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during a plant’s growth stage, rather than through being added during processing. As such, biofortification could be used to reach populations where conventional fortification activities may be difficult to implement.
Biofortification requires a detailed study and analysis of the many factors that determine how a crop grows, working closely with the farmers that will harvest it. We are collaborating with agricultural research institutes in several countries, working to develop and establish supply chains for biofortified crops, to ensure that commercial quantities will be available in the future.
This is a complex process that can take years, and requires a careful and collaborative balance between stakeholders in difficult circumstances.
We are focusing on the most promising biofortified crops and have streamlined development work at our R&D centres from six staple crops in 2013 to four in 2014: maize, wheat, sweet potato and rice. For example, we are establishing a supply chain for vitamin A-rich maize in north Nigeria, where the average yield of maize in Nigeria is only 1–2 tonnes per hectare. Our aim is to significantly improve yield while at the same time providing the fortified crop for our own supply chain and for direct consumption by the local community.