During the 63rd Central American Cooperative Program for the Improvement of Crops and Animals meeting, held in Panama, HarvestPlus organized the “Biofortification: harvesting success” panel where representatives, from 7 Latin American partner countries, showcased their achievements around biofortified crops.
Marilia Nutti, Latin America and the Caribbean regional director of HarvestPlus, highlighted that after only 5 years of activities in the region, biofortified crops have been made available in 7 countries.
“The first time we were invited to the PCCMCA our work was in an investigation phase. Today, we are satisfied to see how every country is sharing experiences from crops that are now being distributed and consumed by the people. We heard important testimonies as the one presented by Guatemala, where a mother shared that her son, partly thanks to iron beans, reached the required weight for his age. This strengthens our wishes to continue working for the region.”
The Central American Cooperative Program for the Improvement of Crops and Animals meeting (PCCMCA) was created in 1954 and is one of the most important events in agriculture for Central America. Every year, it gathers more than 200 researchers from the region to discuss and present investigation results in several areas and crops: coffee, maize, rice and bean among them. Honduras, as a member of the board, will host 2019 edition.
Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama had the opportunity to present the auditorium their accomplishments in the road to ending hidden hunger and answered questions during the main PCCMCA 2018 session.
Julio Ramirez, chief of the Seed Department of the Colombian National Agricultural Research Center, CORPOICA; shared details of the “Bolsas de semillas para la paz”, a program of the Colombian Government to promote the substitution of illicit crops by providing technical assistance and seeds of 9 crops, biofortified maize and BIO-101 irons beans included. This program is part of the recently signed peace treaty with the oldest guerrilla group of the continent, FARC.
“In this program, we will deliver 30 tons of zinc maize and 20 tons of iron beans seeds. This will be implemented in 10 departments, reaching 23.287 families approximately. Said Ramirez.
As a conclusion of the event, the importance of linking these biofortification efforts and activities with public policies was emphasized to ease the way towards ending the malnutrition of communities.
Don’t forget to check event photos on our Flickr account!