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Biofortified food planned to curb malnutrition

Biofortification is the genetic modification of staple food crops by infusing essential nutrients and by making it high-yield to ensure a cost-effective way of fighting malnutrition.

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Biofortified food planned to curb malnutrition
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In a pilot study, the central government plans to use biofortified crops to tackle malnutrition in four districts of Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

Biofortification is the genetic modification of staple food crops by infusing essential nutrients and by making it high-yield to ensure a cost-effective way of fighting malnutrition.

Biofortified strains of crops like rice, maize, wheat and pearl millet and vegetables, developed by the India Council of Agricultural Research will be used to study health parameters over a period of time. The Women and Child Development ministry will study if the crops can be used in nutrition schemes.

The WCD ministry, which is set to unveil the draft National Nutrition Mission guidelines in a few days, has written to ICAR, which has been developing biofortified food grains since 2014 to aid in curbing malnutrition.

"We are keenly looking at the results of this pilot, and if a sustainable model emerges which will help bringing down malnutrition, we might adopt it under the nutrition scheme," said WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava.

As part of the agriculture ministry's Food Security Mission, ICAR has been developing biofortified strains, including infusing varieties of rice, cauliflower and vegetables with carotene, provitamin A-rich Golden Rice, provitamin and protein rich potato, provitamin and iron-rich banana, and provitamin A-rich orange cauliflower.

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