Biofortification of staple foods can stem malnutrition issues

STAFF REPORT ISB: The introduction of advanced techniques can address the rising concerns of malnutrition and food insecurity that are continuously growing and pose serious threat to human health. Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) plays active role in research and development of agri sector. PARC Chairman, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad held a meeting with the focal persons of research team of PARC and discussed strategic measures to improve the food security through adaptation of various techniques.

Chairman PARC emphasized on improvement of zinc nutrient in food items to account for zinc deficiency led diseases, he said, “The lactating mothers and children under 5 years are highly vulnerable to deficiency of zinc syndrome. There are estimates that 32%, 44% and 15% children are facing underweight, stunting and wasting, respectively these phenomena. The biofortification of staple food crops, bred through conventional breeding techniques have proved their evidence to mitigate malnutrition at global level”.

The researcher team stressed that biofortified high zinc wheat would enable the rural and sub-urban malnourished communities to enhance their zinc nutrition level. The efforts of the international organizations for technicaland financial support for this challenging task are really important. It was also apprised that PARC had also chalked out comprehensive plan to fortify the food crops in association with academic institutions.

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