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Biofortified Food & India's POSHAN Abhiyaan



  Sep 12, 2023

Biofortified Food and Its Relevance in India:POSHAN Abhiyaan


Introduction:

Nutritional well-being has gained significant attention globally, with more than half of the world's population suffering from malnutrition, including India. This FAQ discusses the concept of biofortified food and its relevance in addressing malnutrition in India.
 

1. What is Biofortification?

Biofortification is a process that enhances the nutritional quality of crops through genetic manipulation, including breeding and transgenic approaches. The goal is to increase the density of essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals in commonly consumed cereals like rice, wheat, and maize.
 

2. Why is Biofortification Important in India?

Despite economic growth and food security measures, India continues to face malnutrition challenges. Biofortified crops offer an opportunity to enrich the nutrient content of staple grains, contributing to better health outcomes.
 

 3. What Are Some Biofortified Crop Varieties Developed in India?

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has developed 87 biofortified cultivars in 16 crops. These include zinc-enriched rice, protein and iron-rich wheat, lysine and tryptophan-enhanced maize, and calcium, iron, and zinc-rich finger millet varieties.
 

4. How Are Biofortified Crops Integrated into the Food System?

Biofortified crops are integrated into India's food system through various government programs like the National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan). There is a focus on supplying fortified rice through the Public Distribution System and other welfare schemes.
 

5. What Challenges Exist in Promoting Biofortified Crops in India?

Awareness and adoption of biofortified crops are still limited in India. Lack of awareness among farmers and consumers poses a significant hurdle.
 

6. What Steps Can Drive Adoption of Biofortified Crops?

To increase adoption, the government and organizations need to:
 
Ensure access to affordable biofortified planting material for farmers.
 
Conduct extensive promotional campaigns to raise awareness.
 
Strengthen the seed supply chain.
 
Implement competitive pricing mechanisms.
 
Allocate resources for extension activities to educate stakeholders.
 

 Conclusion:

Biofortified food holds promise in addressing malnutrition in India by enhancing the nutrient content of staple crops. However, concerted efforts are needed to raise awareness, improve access, and promote the adoption of biofortified crop varieties across the country.


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