Biofortification for More Crops and More Consumers
Micronutrient malnutrition is a key challenge facing nearly two billion people around the world. Insufficient amounts of vitamin A, zinc and iron results in low disease resistance, stunted growth in children, and a reduction in both cognitive development and economic growth. The problem is especially severe in much of Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia, where up to 80 percent of the population in some countries are affected by the lack of these nutrients.
Solutions include improving dietary diversity, fortifying staple foods with added nutrients and with increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through both conventional and biotechnology breeding methods.
Through collaborative research partnerships, HarvestPlus (part of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, CGIAR) has developed biofortified products such as iron-rich beans, millets and wheat, vitamin A maize, sweet potatoes and cassava, iron-rich wheat and zinc rice.
Sorghum is resilient and grows well in challenging soils and climates and is widely eaten by smallholder farmers across Africa and South Asia. A multi-stakeholder partnership has formed to improve the levels and availability of vitamin A, zinc and iron in the crop. The Africa Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) project includes Africa Harvest, Corteva Agriscience™ and other partners and funders including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.