Biofortified foods: Industry bats for separate branding

Source: The post is based on the article Biofortified foods: Industry bats for separate branding published in The Hindu Businessline on 19th July 2023.

What is the News?

According to a report, the global market of biofortification is projected to reach $217.21 million by 2030 from the current $100.84 million (in 2022). 

What is Biofortification?

Biofortification is the process of improving the nutritional quality of food crops.

This can be achieved through agronomic practices, conventional breeding or biotechnology based approaches like genetic engineering and genome editing.

Biofortification of staple crops such as rice is intended as a sustainable, cost-effective and food-based means of delivering target micronutrients to populations who do not have access to or cannot afford diverse diets and other existing interventions such as fortified foods and supplementation.

It is identified by the Copenhagen Consensus as one of the highest value-for-money interventions for micronutrient deficiency: gaining 17 USD worth of benefits for every 1 USD spent.

What are the steps being taken by the government of India to promote biofortified foods?

On World Food Day 2020, the Prime Minister dedicated to the nation 17 biofortified seed varieties of eight local and traditional crops, including wheat and paddy rice. These varieties have been developed by utilizing the local landraces and farmer’s varieties. 

Further, to encourage biofortification amongst farming communities, Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) has started the Nutri-Sensitive Agricultural Resources and Innovations (NARI) programme for promoting family farming linking agriculture to nutrition.

Government is seeking the private sector’s help to popularize the biofortified foods.The private industry wants separate branding of biofortified foods, similar to what has been done for “organic” products.

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