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Why Inspiring Innovation and Collaboration is Key to Improving Nutrition
By admin September 1, 2016

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The primary role of agriculture is to grow food for human consumption, and the agriculture sector has been largely successful in producing sufficient food to meet the energy (or calorie) needs of the rising global population. However, the persistence of undernutrition, and food and nutrition insecurity in many parts of the world, especially sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, highlights that considerable progress is still required to ensure equitable access to a diversified and nutritious diet. “Micronutrient deficiencies undermine the health of 2 billion people worldwide and are responsible for almost half of all preventable maternal and child deaths each year,” says Howarth Bouis, one of the four leaders who won the World Food Prize in the biofortification movement.

 

In the most ideal condition, everyone would have equal access to diverse, nourishing foods such as fruits, vegetables and protein and other important nutritional interventions including micronutrient supplements, powders and commercially fortified food. Unfortunately, these lifesaving nutrients still remain out of reach for millions of vulnerable children and women.

 

Biofortification is one of the tools that can address this gap. Biofortification is the process of naturally enriching staple foods such as rice, wheat and corn with vitamins and minerals, which benefits low-income subsistence farmers who rely on these inexpensive but not very nutritious staple foods for much of their families’ diet.

Several countries have led the way by including biofortification in their national agriculture, health, nutrition, and education strategies and budgets. Biofortified foods must also be integrated into school feeding programs and ante- and post-natal counseling. National crop breeding programs are increasingly including biofortified varieties in their ongoing efforts to improve the seeds made available to farmers already struggling with challenges such as climate change, diseases, and pests.

 

Dr. Lowell Catlett, Dean and Chief Administrative Officer, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University, stated: “The United States has become a global provider for food only because we have employed technology to make us far more productive so that we can produce more calories than we can consume, so that we can help feed a hungry world, and the only way we have done that is with technology … [W]e have got to invest more in technology than ever to make sure that we can feed that … nine [billion people].  The resource base says we can do it, but we cannot do it without technology.”

 

Whether it’s the smallholder farmer working in their own field; whether it’s the start-up enterprise plugging away at their ‘big idea’; whether it’s the academic whose research could hold the key to unlocking improved nutrition for all – we must listen, we must respect, we must support and we must learn from one another in order to tackle micronutrient deficiencies.

 

For more infromation:

The Future of Food: Food Production, Innovation, and Technology

Driving Agricultural Innovations to Improve Nutrition

How can we improve agriculture, food and nutrition with open data?

Linkages Between Agriculture and Nutrition: Implications for Policy and Research

Reshaping Agriculture for Nutrition and Health


Thanks for sharing !


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