Biofortification is the process of increasing the nutritional value of food crops through conventional plant breeding techniques, using enriched fertilizers or irrigating soil and crops with the nutrients they lack.
Maize, pulses, rice or wheat can provide a lot of calories but still lack sufficient concentrations of Vitamin A, for example, and micronutrient minerals such as iodine, iron, selenium and zinc. This can result in ‘hidden hunger,’ harming children’s brain development and physical development, and keeping immune systems low in adults. Mineral fertilizers that are fortified with micronutrients can help – as part of strategies that include farmers, agronomists, public health specialists, governments and the private sector.
IFA Podcast: Biofortification
Some 3 billion people in the world experience 'hidden hunger.' They might have enough rice, wheat and pulses to eat, for example, but the food lacks the vitamins and micronutrient minerals such as zinc, iron, selenium and iodine needed for normal brain development and strong immune systems. How can we use fertilizers to improve the micronutrient content of food crops? Ismail Cakmak, Professor of Plant Nutrition, Sabanci University, Turkey, and Martin Broadley, Professor and Science Director, Rothamsted Research, UK, sat down with IFA Chief Scientist Achim Dobermann to discuss how fertilizers can improve the micronutrient content of food crops - biofortification - and help tackle hidden hunger.