Friday, 29 January 2016

Reducing mineral and vitamin deficiencies through biofortification: progress and future strategy under HarvestPlus

An IRRI Seminar 

By Dr Howarth Bouis
Director, HarvestPlus

4 February 2016
1:15-2:​00 p.m.
Havener Auditorium 


Agriculture plays a key role in reducing malnutrition. Mineral and vitamin deficiencies (most importantly in iron, zinc, and vitamin A), in particular, are very significant public health problems, causing untold misery with high economic costs.

Biofortification, the process of using plant breeding techniques to develop high-yielding and nutrient-dense food crops, is now widely recognized as a highly cost-effective intervention that works to reduce deficiency in iron, zinc, and vitamin A. Through the collaboration of HarvestPlus with a number of research and implementing agencies, biofortified crop varieties have now been released in 30 countries and are in multi-location trials in another 25 countries.

An estimated 15 million people have been reached directly through HarvestPlus-funded delivery in eight target countries. However, this is only the beginning. HarvestPlus has recently set a goal of reaching 1 billion people with biofortified crops. This number can only be reached if rice is the lead crop; therefore, IRRI's role is crucial.

This seminar will review the justification for biofortification, and progress and future strategy under HarvestPlus, with an emphasis on high-zinc rice.

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