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New Investment Framework Announced at 2010 Biofortification Conference
In November, HarvestPlus, a non-profit organization representing more than 20 countries held the First Global Conference on Biofortification in Washington, D.C. With more than 300 participants, the event drew attention to the progress being made in breeding high-yielding, high nutrient crops and establishing the bioavailability and efficacy of vitamins and minerals in high-nutrient lines.
HarvestPlus notes that there are key issues remaining in establishing biofortification as a sustainable strategy to reduce malnutrition, and put forth a framework of eight broad categories for proposed investment, including: upstream research; midstream breeding and nutrition research; downstream “pilot” delivery and ownership by agricultural decision makers, among others.
Speakers included Ambassador William J. Garvelink, U.S. Government Deputy Coordinator for Development, Feed the Future: Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative; Nicholas D. Kristof Columnist, New York Times and Pulitzer Prize-winning author; David Nabarro, Special Representative on Food Security and Nutrition to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Navyn Salem, Executive Director, Edesia Global Nutrition Solutions.
The event was moderated by Roger Thurow, Senior Fellow, Global Agriculture and Food Policy, of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Regarding the conference, Mr. Thurow later noted on his blog Global Food for Thought:
“It was confounding to hear that this link between agriculture and nutrition has so long been missing – confounding because food production and nutrition seem to be a natural combination, essential allies in the war on hunger. But the two have often been treated as separate academic and practical disciplines. Nutrition has been seen as a health problem and food production as a matter for agriculture.”
To profile the conference and biofortification issues, HarvestPlus has developed a blog where more information is available, including videos and media coverage. Additionally, HarvestPlus also provides educational resources such as fact sheets.