ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Associated Costs and Alternatives?

Biofortification

Biofortification refers to the increase in the amount of essential vitamins or provitamins or minerals in crops to improve the nutritional status of the people. The article argues that biofortification may not be an effective weapon to fight against the hidden hunger since it demonstrates limited capacity for nutritional enhancement and suggests a couple of alternatives.

 

Nearly two billion people around the world suffer from low intakes of vitamins (for example, vitamin A) and key minerals (for example, iron, and zinc) (Horwitz et al 1998). Micronutrient malnutrition or “hidden hunger” is now a global problem plaguing the human race. Hidden hunger may coexist with the energy-rich staple crops (von Grebmer et al 2014), as they are unable to erase micronutrient deficiency (Pinstrup-Andersen 2007). While dietary diversity has largely been mandated for healthy and nutritious food intake and to alleviate the burden of micronutrient malnutrition (FAO, WFP and IFAD 2012), the potential of natural biodiversity to enrich dietary diversity in general and to reduce micronutrient deficiency specifically is essentially ignored in food security policies and implementation. It is an issue of global concern when the world has gradually stepped in the realms of the biofortified crops that is often portrayed as a panacea to eradicate hidden hunger, thus investing in the production of biofortified cereals, promoting, and spearheading the dissemination and moulding the acceptance process at various levels (Birol and Bouis 2019).

This article argues that bioforti­fication may not be the best weapon to fight against the hidden hunger. This is because the roll-out of biofortified crops could be deeply problematic as it hinges on wrong assumptions and has only a limited capacity to nutritional enhancement. Finally, the article attempts to proffer a couple of alternatives that might meet the challenge of meeting nutrition needs more efficiently than biofortified crops.

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Updated On : 30th Aug, 2021

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