Cost-Effectiveness of Biofortification

Agriculture, Nutrition
SecureNutrition, World Bank Agriculture, Agrilinks, HarvestPlus
Resource Publication Date:
October, 2015
Content Format:

On October 6th, 2015, SecureNutrition co-hosted an event with the World Bank Agriculture Global Practuce, USAID Agrilinks platform, and HarvestPlus. Dr. Howarth Bouis, Director of HarvestPlus, delivered an engaging presentation in front of 30 attendees at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC, and an addition 100 people online. 


Biofortification is among the highest value-for-money investments for economic development and reducing micronutrient deficiencies. This is particularly the case in low-income rural populations with limited access to existing nutritional interventions. Biofortification is a plant breeding process that improves public health and nutrition by breeding and disseminating plants rich in vitamins and minerals to address micronutrient deficiency.  After two decades of research and implementation, evidence demonstrates that crop breeding increases nutrient levels without reducing yield, and that the extra nutrients in these crops improve nutritional status. 

Adoption by farmers and consumers continues to expand, with more than a dozen biofortified crops under cultivation in almost 30 countries. The Copenhagen Consensus ranked interventions for reducing micronutrient deficiencies, including biofortification, among the highest value-for-money investments for economic development.  Looking ahead, as biofortification continues to scale up, partnerships with the private sector, public sector agricultural research organizations, NGOs and multilateral institutions will continue to be important in bringing this technology to scale. 

In this presentation, Dr. Bouis discussed the principles behind biofortification, its impact on nutrition and smallholder farmer income, the cost-effectiveness of biofortification vs. other nutrition interventions, and the partnerships needed to bring this technology to scale.