Friday, April 21, 2017

     Several recent posts have focused on agriculture in Africa.  I applaud those posts.

     Today, I received an e-mail from the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND) that publicized its newest issue -- a special issue on biofortification of staple crops for Africa.  I have done some legal work on the issue of biofortification of crops for developing nations.  Hence, this issue caught my attention.  I provide the AJFAND information for your information and use.

Drew Kershen

From: Hon. Prof. Ruth Oniang'o []

Sent: 20 April 2017 09:07

Subject: Announcing AJFAND Volume 17 No. 2 (2017) - Special Issue on Biofortification


Special Issue devoted to Biofortification

Finally we are here. Let me right upfront express profound appreciation to Amy Saltzman, a researcher at HarvestPlus, who has worked tirelessly with the AJFAND team to ensure a smooth running of what turned out to be a fairly long process to the realization of this Special Issue on Biofortification. Dr Howarth Bouis (revered and popularly referred to as "Howdy") starting about 5 years ago was very keen to have AJFAND publish a Special Issue on Biofortification. Whenever we met, he or someone else on his Program Advisory Committee (PAC) would bring it up and my response would be "sure, just let me know when you are ready". Well, then exactly 2 years ago after we met at a conference in Switzerland, Dr Bouis forwarded the first set of manuscripts and we agreed that they go through internal review first before submitting to AJFAND. After all, the number of authors involved was large, and the group fairly diverse. I recall when I joined the very first PAC, of HarvestPlus, the first product we addressed was the orange fleshed sweet potato. That was years ago, in the early 1990’s. From 1993, Howdy was determined in his belief that biofortification could be a huge answer to world hunger and micronutrient deficiency problems; we watched him grey and I recall several times telling him: "One of these days, you will receive an award for this work you are doing". He would just smile. I am happy that it has finally come to pass. I remember when Dr Per Pinstrup Anderson called me to ask whether I could join the HarvestPlus PAC. He said: "Ruth, I am calling you from Washington DC. And you have to say YES, otherwise I will not get off the phone". Well, I had to agree. Dr Anderson was then the well- respected Director General of IFPRI and a good friend, and both his height and voice are always very convincing. That is one scientist I truly respect. This PAC, chaired by Dr Peter MacPherson, former USAID Administrator and past President of Michigan State University was an ambitious one but also extremely supportive of Howdy’s work. IFPRI too, the home of HarvestPlus demonstrated unwavering support and especially at times when no funding appeared to be forthcoming. Somehow all these people and many more believed in what Howdy was spearheading. Research takes time, but convincing many people to come along with you on something that is not yet tangible takes some skill and a lot of good luck. When you look at Howdy and listen to his story, it is difficult not to believe him. His determination and devotion to this cause has yielded fruits, real results. Yes, there is still a lot to do, but at least the foundation has been laid, and the proof of concept achieved. From 1993, to the present time, nearly 25 years, Africa has gone through many cycles of drought and hunger. As I write this, 17 million people are afflicted by famine in the Horn of Africa. The good thing about the orange fleshed sweet potato is its judicious use of water. So, it does better than many tubers in limited rainfall. This point was seriously emphasized at a recent CIP (International Potato Centre) meeting I attended in Kisumu.

It was amazing at the same meeting to learn of the multitude of products and especially snacks for both adults and children that can be made from orange and purple sweet potatoes.

This special issue of AJFAND has a lot to teach all of us: policy makers, researchers/scientists, farmers, donors, practitioners, consumers, private sector and job seekers. Patience pays, and together we can solve some of the world’s problems when we put our minds to it. I wish to congratulate all who have put effort for us to realize this issue, which can now be shared with interested parties across the world, and also to those who have devoted years of their professional careers to biofortification. Because of their unwavering resolve, billions of the world’s hungriest can access affordable food-based micronutrients.

Congratulations go to Dr Howarth Bouis and his team for receiving the 2016 World Food Prize, and we at AJFAND thank you so much for affording us the opportunity to publish this work. SCIENCE matters, and research is the mother of innovation, and all these efforts need to be supported, as it is the only way to address the ever increasing world problems. Hunger and malnutrition should be problems of the past in this 21st century.

I thank all AJFAND staff and reviewers for the mazing contributions they have made towards the finalization of this issue on BIOFORTIFICATION.

Enjoy this issue and forward all comments to:

Dr Amy Saltzman [ ] and Editor-in-Chief [ ] for action.

Ruth Oniang’o
Editor-in-Chief, AJFAND
Foreword: Ruth Oniang'o
Profile: Howarth Bouis

Preface: Tumusiime Rhoda Peace

•Chapter 1:
An Overview of the landscape and approach for Biofortification in Africa
Howarth Bouis et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus01

Nutrition and Food Science

•Chapter 2:
Effect of regular consumption of provitamin A biofortified staple crops on Vitamin A status in populations in low-income countries.
Marjorie Haskell et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus02

•Chapter 3:
Efficacy of iron-biofortified crops.
Erick Boy et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus03

•Chapter 4:
Micronutrient (provitamin A and iron/zinc) retention in biofortified crops.
Aurelie Bechoff et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus04

Plant Breeding and Instrumentation

•Chapter 5:
Progress update: Crop development of biofortified staple food crops under HarvestPlus.
Meike Andersson et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus05

•Chapter 5: ANNEX 1
Biofortified varieties released under HarvestPlus (as of December 2016).
Chapter 5: Annex 1 DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus05.annex1

•Chapter 6:
High-throughput measurement methodologies for developing nutrient-dense crops.
Georgia Guild et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus06

Crop Development and Delivery Experience

•Chapter 7:
Sweet potato development and delivery in sub-Saharan Africa.
Jan Low et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus07

•Chapter 8:
Orange maize in Zambia: Crop development and delivery experience.
Eliab Simpungwe et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus08

•Chapter 9:
Vitamin A cassava in Nigeria: Crop development and delivery.
Paul Ilona et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus09

•Chapter 10:
Iron beans in Rwanda: Crop development and delivery experience.
Joseph Mulambu et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus10

•Chapter 11:
Marketing biofortified crops: insights from consumer research.
Benjamin Uchitelle-Pierce and Patience Ubomba-Jaswa DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus11

•Chapter 12:
Integrating biofortified crops into community development programs.
Carolyn MacDonald et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus12

Meauring Impact; Economic Methodologies

•Chapter 13:
Building the case for biofortification: Measuring and maximizing impact in the HarvestPlus program.
Nancy Johnson et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus13

•Chapter 14
Identification of optimal investments.
Keith Lividini et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus14

•Chapter 15:
Introducing orange sweet potato: Tracing the evolution of evidence on its effectiveness.
Alan de Brauw et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus15

Policy/Stakeholder Engagement

•Chapter 16:
Advocacy for biofortification: Building stakeholder support, integration into regional and national policies, and sustaining momentum.
Namukolo Covic et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus16

•Chapter 17:
The way forward.
Howarth Bouis et al. DOI: 10.18697/ajfand.HarvestPlus17


Hon. Prof. Ruth K. Oniang'o, PhD
Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND)
Founder, Rural Outreach Program (ROP) Africa
Chair of Boards, SAA/SAFE
President, International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST) 2016-2018
2014 IFAMA Distinguished Service Award Recipient
2014 FORTUNE Magazine one of 30 Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink
Adjunct Professor of Nutrition, TUFTS University, USA

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