A review of the landscape and approach for biofortification initiatives in Zimbabwe
Micronutrient deficiencies “hidden hunger” can result in stunting, blindness, mental retardation, learning disabilities, low work capacity, and even premature death. Biofortification is an agro-based intervention designed to increase the content of key micronutrients in staple crops in order to correct or prevent micronutrient deficiencies primarily among the rural poor who are vulnerable to “hidden hunger”. This paper summarises a review of the current issues and recommendations to scaling up biofortification initiatives in Zimbabwe. The biofortification initiatives; vitamin A orange maize, iron-zinc beans, zinc pearl millet and Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes (OFSP). Although, the country has the necessary policy frameworks and multi-sectoral platforms to accelerate the use of biofortified crops, the current initiatives are still in the pilot stage with fragmented efforts by stakeholders. This is the key challenge that will stale the efforts to scale up to national level. Interestingly, the government led food-based approach “dietary diversification” provides an opportunity to integrate and scaling up of biofortification initiatives in Zimbabwe. However, there is need for a comprehensive implementation plan within the existing policy and institutional frameworks. In this paper we raised some questions that will need to be addressed to enable successful scaling up of biofortification in the Zimbabwean context. Addressing these questions will help create a supportive policy framework and assist Zimbabwe to identify specific impact pathways for biofortification.