Howarth Bouis print  
Howarth Bouis is the Director of HarvestPlus, an interdisciplinary, global alliance of research centers and implementing agencies working together to develop and disseminate micronutrient-dense staple food crops and to measure their impact in improving nutrition. Since 1993, he has sought to promote “biofortification” activities both within the Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), including their partner National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES), and in the human nutrition community -- through publications, seminars, workshops, symposiums, and fund-raising.

As Director of HarvestPlus, Dr. Bouis holds a joint appointment at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (Cali, Colombia) and the International Food Policy Research institute (Washington, D.C.). His past research has concentrated on understanding how economic factors affect food demand and nutrition outcomes, particularly in Asia. Howarth Bouis received his B.A. in Economics from Stanford University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Stanford University's Food Research Institute.
HarvestPlus: Breeding Crops for Better Nutrition
HarvestPlus is an inter-disciplinary, international program to breed for mineral and vitamin dense varieties of food staples, that is to develop “biofortifed” rice, wheat, maize, sweetpotao, beans and cassava for release to farmers in developing countries. Target micronutrients are iron, zinc and beta-carotene. The biofortification strategy seeks to take advantage of the consistent daily consumption of large amounts of food staples by all family members, including women and children who are most at risk for micronutrient malnutrition. Predominately staple diets of low-income households are an underlying cause for over 2 billion cases of iron and zinc deficiency in humans worldwide and 250 million children who are deficient in vitamin A. After the one-time investment is made to develop seeds that fortify themselves, recurrent costs are low and germplasm may be shared internationally. It is this multiplier aspect of plant breeding across time and distance that makes it so cost-effective. Once in place, the biofortified crop system is highly sustainable. Biofortification provides a feasible means of reaching malnourished populations in relatively remote rural areas, delivering higher-nutrient foods to people with limited access to commercially-marketed fortified foods. Mineral packed seeds sell themselves to farmers because, as recent research has shown, these trace minerals are essential in helping plants resist disease and other environmental stresses. HarvestPlus is a Challenge Program of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It is organized around the following component themes: Plant Breeding, Human Nutrition, Biotechnology, Food Processing, Impact and Policy, Reaching End User and Communication. Conventional breeding is currently emphasized, while it is expected that potentially more powerful transgenic methods will be employed as deployment of GMOs becomes more widely accepted.