Biofortification We are often told that we need to eat diversified foods so as to increase nutrient content. However, people from low income households all around the world do not frequently get the opportunity to ‘diversify’ their daily meals. This leads to global challenges such as malnutrition which continues to threaten food security. Biofortification is the concept of breeding crops to increase their nutritional value. There are various methods of breeding such as conventional selective breeding and genetic engineering. This process aims to make plant foods more nutritious as the plants are growing, rather than having nutrients added to the foods when they are being processed (fortification). “We n to ha nutrit foo According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fortification refers to “the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (including trace elements) in a food irrespective of whether the nutrients were originally in the food before processing or not, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health”. Although there is a distinct difference between biofortification and fortification, both processes assist in regions where the staple foods lack particular nutrients due to the soil of the region or from inherent inadequacy of a normal diet. But what is the relation between biofortification and food security?
in food security Food security is centralised around the fact that all people need to have access to nutritious food at all times. Yes, biofortification enhances access to nutritious food, but does biofortification allow the crops to be grown timeously? Let us explore. According to reports, to successfully scale up biofortification programs, assistance will be required from a sustained commitment of three key elements: supply, policies, and demand. eed ve ious d!” First, agricultural research entities, as well as public and private actors, need to ensure an adequate global supply of relevant and high-yielding seeds. Second, appropriate policies to support biofortification programs that improve public health and provide high economic returns need to be developed and implemented nationally and globally. Third, efforts need to be made that ensure that rural and urban populations value, and demand, high mineral and vitamin content in their staple foods. Moreover, GM crops must undergo rigorous risk assessment in today’s regulatory environment which hinders the accessibility of the crops in regions with strict regulations. Additionally, adverse effects on the soil or plants may critically compromise the ‘sustainability’ of biofortified crop strategies, which may deter the crops from being accessible at all times. Therefore it becomes questionable whether biofortified foods will easily be accessible at all times due to all the reasons stated above. However, it still has provided ways of enabling access to nutritious food. Hence, contributing to food security. Masiziba Hadebe