Four methods are available to manage malnutrition: supplementation, diet diversification, fortification of foods with vitamins and minerals and biofortification. Biofortification occurs when micronutrients are bred into crops through selective or traditional breeding processes, or, alternatively, through genetic modification techniques, a potentially powerful new solution as it does not require significant behaviour change on behalf of populations as some of the other solutions do. Where used in staple crops, biofortification can significantly improve the micronutrient intake of populations. A further advantage is that farmers can replant from the seeds of biofortified crops, and the subsequent harvests will remain micronutrient dense. This makes biofortification a low-cost solution once the original crop strain has been created. HarvestPlus is an organisation that works on scaling up the production of bio-fortified crops. HarvestPlus have worked on a number of projects including on vitamin-A enriched Maize in Zimbabwe, on iron-rich beans in Uganda and on zinc-rich wheat and rice in Bangladesh. High levels of advocacy and stakeholder engagement must be involved in this approach, in order to assure farmers that they will receive a good yield, and consumers that the product is healthy, safe and nutritionally viable.
Presented by: Professor Nicola Lowe, Professor of Nutritional Sciences, University of Central Lancashire
HarvestPlus fighting hidden hunger