Integrating biofortification into CGIAR and NARS breeding programs is crucial to ensure scaling-up. Mainstreaming is nothing but incorporating mineral and vitamin traits into core breeding pipelines in the national and international breeding programs. Mainstreaming biofortification is key for improving and enduring crops in order to have a well-fed society. This is done by a strategy which has just been initiated in selected CGIAR centers namely, CIMMYT (Wheat), IRRI (rice), ICRISAT (pearl millet), IITA (Cassava and sweet potato) and CIAT (Bean, Rice and Cassava)
The Mainstreaming strategy consists in having biofortification streamed and in replacing the varieties currently grown in the breeding centers with climate and disease-resilient, higher-yielding and more nutritious varieties.
Researchers done this with a technique called “Targeted breeding” and that matures gradually to mainstreaming, the TB which has made more than 400 biofortified crop varieties in 40plus countries benefiting more than 60 million people, demonstrating the global momentum to promote these nutritious staple crops to more farmers and consumers through comitted mainstreaming breeding startegy under one CGIAR leadership, partnership and investments.
HarvestPlus, along with its global consortium partners, enhances the nutritional quality of productive crops and reduces micronutrient malnutrition among poor at-risk populations by capitalizing on agricultural research as a tool for public health interventions driven by an impact/product pathway that integrates crop development, nutrition, socio-economic disciplines and country specific crop delivery plans.
HarvestPlus provides guidance for the institutions by providing technical assistance, advicing, giving capacity development, and facilitating the exchange of germplasm between countries. HarvestPlus, in consultation with various crop lead CG centers, has developed a set of mainstreaming indicators for wheat, rice, maize, beans, pearl millet, and cassava to monitor initial mainstreaming breeding progress. These first ever indicators are developed for self-pollinated and cross-pollinated crops. These primary indicators will continue to evolve and be customized for contributing to crop product profiles and varietal replacement. Therefore, HarvestPlus and EiB are driving the higher yields as well as higher nutrition staple food crops as part of the targeted genetic gains in the near future.