MacArthur Foundation Visits HarvestPlus as Firm Eyes $100m Grant


Ugo Aliogo
HarvestPlus Nigeria recently hosted a delegation from the MacArthur Foundation at its country office in the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State for an on-the-ground assessment of the delivery of biofortification in Nigeria.

The visit was part of the #100andchange global competition for $100million grant to fund ‘a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.’ The group is one of the eight semi-finalists in the competition, for which a winner would be announced in December. The #100andchange delegation comprises Director, Africa Office, MacArthur Foundation, Mr. Kole Shettima, and a Lead Programme Officer, Ms. Kristen Molyneaux.

The Country Manager, HarvestPlus Nigeria, Paul Ilona, led the team on a courtesy visit to top management of IITA, for close interaction with the Deputy Director General on Partnerships for Delivery, Dr. Dashiell Kenton; Cassava Breeder, Peter Kolakov, Maize Breeder, Dr. Menkir Abebe; Director, Development and Delivery Office, Dr. Alfred Dixon and Director, Research for Development, Dr. Robert Asiedu.

The forum provided opportunity for a better understanding of how the organisation partners IITA in the delivery of biofortified crops in the country.
In her remarks, Molyneaux said that the visit was an opportunity to learn directly from those in the field, noting that foundation assesses semi-finalist in the #100andchange competition.
She added: “This is one of the ways we learn the activities of the semi-finalists. We are impressed with what we have seen in Nigeria and will be going back with a better understanding of the strategies deployed in delivery of biofortification in Nigeria.”

The was an interactive session with the organisation delivery partners, where the #100andchange team learned from the partners on how an expansive value chain for delivery has evolved and how the private sector is now promoting adoption, production and consumption of biofortified crops across the country.

Ilona further stated that the visit afforded the organisation an opportunity to showcase the progress on biofortification, stressing that the funding would accelerate the organisation delivery to other West African countries.

He said: “We are delighted to have reach over 1.6 million households reached with biofortified crops and foods. This a testament to the fact that the strategies we deployed in Nigeria are working and we are certain the technology of biofortification would be the way to go in all West African countries in the nearest future.”