Micronutrient deficiency is still a big challenge around the world as most people consume foods that are lacking in vital nutrients such as Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc. This means that people who thrive on diets without such nutrients in the long run fall victim of nutritional deficiencies and are likely to be challenged by stunted growth, blindness and susceptibility to infections.
In Rwanda, HarvestPlus has crafted innovations to alleviate micronutrient deficiency through promoting growth of Biofortified staple foods and very soon, maize, will be included on top on beans, bred with higher amounts of micronutrients that meet the recommended dietary allowance for the body.
This kind of agriculture and nutritional diversification has not only improved dietary quality of meals in the villages but farmers have also had their livelihoods improved through better financial returns.
The benefits are endless, just like Ephrone Harerimana, a bean farmer in Kinazi explains.
“In 2012, I borrowed money from Bank Populaire to grow beans on 5 hectares of land. At the beginning it was quite difficult because the variety of beans I used to grow had a long gestation period. When HarvestPlus brought in a helping hand with the breed of RwR 2245 or locally known as mutikintoya, farming improved and I have a lot to show for that.
”Harerimana who has become a model farmer in Kinazi who was initially a member of the cooperative called COTU decided to work as an individual farmer after mastering farming skills from HarvestPlus.