News from Flagship Two: Biofortification

Micronutrient deficiency affects approximately 2 billion people globally and is caused by poor-quality diets resulting in low intakes of key micronutrients. Children who are micronutrient deficient in early childhood are at a much higher risk of infections, and less able to recover than healthy children.

Biofortification uses plant breeding to improve the nutritional content of food crops, especially staple foods that poor people already consume, in order to reduce inadequate intakes and micronutrient deficiency in the most at-risk populations. A4NH's work in this area builds on the strong track record of HarvestPlus, which leads the flagship, working to develop and deliver new, more nutritious varieties of staple food crops that provide higher amounts of vitamin A, iron, or zinc. By the end of 2016, more than 140 biofortified varieties of 10 crops were released in over 30 countries.

To learn more about A4NH's work on Biofortification, please visit the Biofortification Flagship page.

Below are news stories, blog posts, and other information that help inform research and progress in this area.

New Studies Highlight Potential of Zinc-Biofortified Wheat

More than 17 percent of people globally lack sufficient zinc in their diets. Deficiencies in this essential micronutrient contribute to an estimated 400,000 child deaths globally each year. Yet new studies from HarvestPlus and CIMMYT show biofortifying wheat with zinc has the potential to improve this critical situation.

Consuming Iron-Biofortified Pearl Millet Improves Indian Adolescents’ Cognitive Outcomes

A study recently published in the Journal of Nutrition provides evidence biofortified high-iron pearl millet can stem the deleterious ripple effect of iron deficiency by significantly improving nutrition and cognitive performance.

HarvestPlus Founder Joins Forces with African Leaders for Nutrition

The African Development Bank welcomes HarvestPlus founder Howarth Bouis to the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative, to address the pervasive challenge of micronutrient malnutrition. Well known for his efforts to produce micronutrient-rich staples that reduce “hidden hunger,” he brings a wealth of expertise in global research and policies on biofortification.

First Zinc Maize Variety Launched to Reduce Malnutrition in Colombia

A new zinc-enriched maize variety was released in Colombia on February 23 to help combat malnutrition in South America.