Nearly 1 in 3 children under five years of age, 1 in 4 pregnant women, and 1 in 10 women of childbearing age suffer from anemia due to iron deficiency in Guatemala. This is the leading cause of disability among older children and adolescents. Biofortification seeks, through the consumption of ICTA ChortíACM beans, to improve the health of Guatemalans.
Previous studies among women of childbearing age on the effect of biofortified beans with high iron content showed that the bean reduces iron deficiency in only 18 weeks. This translates into improved memory and attention.
The BioFORT Platform in coordination with the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP), HarvestPlus, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (ICTA), are implementing the project “Impact Assessment of Agriculture and Health Interventions to Mitigate Iron Deficiency in Rural Guatemala. Biofortified bean with high iron content and feeding practices in adolescents”.
This study is being carried out in the departments of Jutiapa, Jalapa and Chiquimula and aims to improve iron deficiency rates in adolescent women, said Manolo Mazariegos of INCAP.
Julio Franco, Coordinator of the BioFORT Platform, said: “In 120 communities in the departments of Jutiapa, Jalapa and Chiquimula have benefited 2,268 families, with 20 lbs of bean seed ICTA ChortíACM who are committed to growing and consuming the grain. Since 2017 and 2018, the respective monitoring is being carried out in relation to the production, nutritional and socioeconomic situation of the beneficiary families.
At the end of this year, INCAP will make a final analysis of the nutritional status of the beneficiaries to determine the impact achieved by the consumption of biofortified beans. The project is being implemented thanks to the support of the German Cooperation (GIZ) and the HarvestPlus project.