The First Global Conference on Biofortification is officially over and conference attendees have pledged to carry forth their efforts to continue promoting biofortification in the fight against malnutrition as they return home to their respective countries and programs. Conference organizers, meanwhile, are hopeful that some of the buzz generated around biofortification continues to grow.
Two new articles published this week on IRIN Africa News and the McClatchy Newspaper service highlight the biofortification approach being led by HarvestPlus in collaboration with various research partners and foreign governments in target countries. The IRIN News article covers biofortified maize efforts in Zambia, a collaborative project between the government's Zambia Agricultural Research Institute (ZARI), which is collaborating with HarvestPlus. The article states that "(a)fter three years of work - identifying maize varieties with high beta-carotene content and then cross-breeding them to increase the content naturally - the scientists appear to have been successful." The McClatchy piece, meanwhile, focuses on the success of the orange sweet potato in Mozambique and Uganda, the first HarvestPlus food to go to marketplace. The article includes a quote from HarvestPlus Director Howdy Bouis who states, "We've made all this scientific progress. The next step is demonstrate that the food will get used and then scale up."
In addition to the news media, we would like to give special recognition those who are helping to spread the seeds of biofortification in the social media. Nabeeha Kazi Hutchins, Managing Director of Humanitas Global Development, recently wrote a blog article in which she shares her impressions while attending the conference and we hope that other conference attendees will follow. The conference also had a highly active following on Twitter, with several hundred tweets issued before, during and (hopefully) after the conference's close using the hashtag #biofortconf.