Over two billion people around the world suffer from ‘hidden hunger’ or micronutrient deficiencies.
Staple diets of marginal and subsistence farmers in the dryland regions of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia lack critical micronutrients such as iron, zinc and vitamin A, leading to various diseases and physiological and cognitive disorders.
Biofortified crops, specially bred to contain higher amounts of these micronutrients, can help reduce hidden hunger in the most vulnerable populations in the world. Farmers who grow biofortified crops will have easy access to nutritious foods with minimal investments.
India’s first iron-biofortified pearl millet variety Dhanashakti released in 2013 in Maharashtra and in 2014 for all-India cultivation.
Dhanashakti had 71 mg/kg iron (Fe) and 40 mg/kg zinc (Zn) compared to 42 mg/kg average Fe in non-biofortified pearl millet.
Seven more iron-biofortified pearl millet hybrids released in 2017 and 2018.
Africa’s first biofortified pearl millet variety Chakti released in 2018 in Niger. This is early maturing, high yielding and resistant to downy mildew, as well as being rich in iron (65 mg/kg) and zinc (47 mg/kg).
More than 100,000 ha planted with biofortified millets.