In Honduras, according to data from the 2011 National Demographic and Health Survey, 23% of children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, 1% of children under age 5 years suffer from acute malnutrition and 7% of children under 5 years of age are underweight for their age. HarvestPlus is working hard to change this.
That is why, on May 29th, more than 14 governmental institutions and NGOs met with the objective of laying the foundations, under the leadership of HarvestPlus and the Secretariat of Agriculture and Livestock (SAG) through the Directorate of Agricultural Science and Technology (DICTA), of a network, focused on promoting biofortified crops.
Institutions such as the World Food Programme (WFP), UTSAN, Arsagro, IICA, Zamorano, USAID, FIPAH, CRS, SwissContact, and Canadian Cooperation, among others, began to coordinate efforts with the objective of creating a permanent group of work and cooperation to promote biofortified crops. These types of initiatives are already working in different countries, such as the BioFORT Platform in Guatemala; the “Rede BioFORT“, in Brazil; and AgroNutre in Panama with promising results.
The event allowed to understand experiences in other countries and identify the path for Honduras, starting with the creation of a management committee to promote discussions and the coordination of the different initiatives related to biofortified crops.
In order to contribute with a good nutrition, biofortified varieties of several crops are being promoted in Honduras. These crops are developed through conventional crop breeding achieving higher content of vitamins and minerals.
HarvestPlus, the global leader in biofortification, collaborates in Honduras with the bean breeding program of the Pan-American Agricultural School (Zamorano) and the crop improvement programs of the Directorate of Agricultural Science and Technology (DICTA), for the generation of biofortified varieties of beans, corn, rice, sweet potatoes, and cassava.
As of now, there is already a variety of iron beans, Honduras Nutritivo; varieties of QPM maize, Lempira and Olanchano 03; and zinc maize varieties, DICTA B02 and DICTA B03.