HarvestPlus, after careful consideration by the MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Directors, emerged a finalist of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
MacArthur Foundation’s Board of Directors said they were convinced that HarvestPlus’ provide a viable and much-needed solution to one of the world’s greatest problems—hidden hunger.
HarvestPlus Chief Executive Officer, Beverly Postma, said her organization had long believed that addressing micronutrient malnutrition is critical to economic growth and development.
Mrs. Postma said hidden hunger that has led to the death of over 1 million children under five according to WHO, was largely due to lack of dietary diversity in impoverished communities; communities that rely on one or two staple crops as their primary diet.
HarvestPlus has had a breakthrough on how to increase the nutritional value of these crops through a natural plant breeding process called bio-fortification.
As such, crops like sweet potatoes, beans, maize, and cassava are now being bred to contain higher amounts of vitamin A, iron, and zinc —three of the micronutrients most lacking in diets globally, according to the WHO.
Expressing her optimism, she said: “Through the help of partners like the MacArthur Foundation, eliminating hidden hunger is possible, because, with additional resources such as this, HarvestPlus would be able to empower local farming communities throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America to grow and consume more nutritious food”.
The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.