37.6% of Colombian children between 5 and 12 years old are suffering from anemia: a disease that can cause cognitive and development problems in kids and newborns. This disease is produced by iron deficiency and hence the importance of the first steps that are being done to include iron beans in the School Lunch Program of the Colombian city, Cali.
Let’s imagine that every Colombian kid studies at the same school divided into groups of 40. This would mean that at least 14 kids of each group could have motor skills and mental development impairment in infants and young children—consequences that can be irreversible even with enough iron later in life-. These kids would probably have difficulties later in life finding a job and achieving their full potential.
This is why several institutions in Cali are doing efforts to include biofortified iron + zinc beans in the School Lunch Program for the city. Under this program, Hacia un Valle Solidario Corporation with HarvestPlus and the Agricultural Research and Development Foundation (FIDAR), trained 170 cookers in biofortified crops and sanitary topics.
This training aims to kick-start a pilot project with biofortified beans: 2000 children, from 4 schools, are going to receive Colombian iron beans (bio-101 bio-107) during 1 day and the response will be analyzed. If positive, this pilot project will bring us closer to include biofortified beans in the School Lunch Program. This is scheduled to be performed on September.
Just for Cali, the School Lunch Program benefits around 166 thousand students who could get a more nutritious food.
Two biofortified beans were released last June: BIO-101 and BIO-107, that can be grown in several Colombian regions with outstanding results (Cauca, Huila, Tolima, Quindío, Santander and Valle del Cauca).
Learn more about Colombian biofortified beans.