News / Asia

    India Fortifies Food to Fight 'Hidden Hunger'

    An Indian farmer pulls his oxen after plowing a rice paddy in Allahabad, India, June 17, 2010 file photo.
    An Indian farmer pulls his oxen after plowing a rice paddy in Allahabad, India, June 17, 2010 file photo.
    Aru Pande
    Malnutrition is more common in India than in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations. To address this "hidden hunger," Indian officials are joining forces with a U.S-based program to fortify staple foods with key nutrients.

    The numbers are stark. The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) says in India, one in every three children is malnourished, and nearly half of all childhood deaths are attributed to malnutrition.

    The problem centers not necessarily on how much people are eating, but what they are eating. Millions in India rely on rice and wheat to fill their stomachs, but those staple foods lack crucial vitamins and minerals.

    Parliament member and agriculturist M.S. Swaminathan, known as the father of India’s “Green Revolution” for introducing high-yielding crop varieties to farmers, says about 900 million men, women and children around the world are malnourished.

    States in India with highest under-nutrition ratesStates in India with highest under-nutrition rates
    x
    States in India with highest under-nutrition rates
    States in India with highest under-nutrition rates
    “Nearly two billion suffer from iron deficiency and anemia particularly women, pregnant women," he says. "Therefore, overcoming this micronutrient deficiency, or what we call hidden hunger, is of great priority to us, because enough calories alone won’t help.”

    Indian leaders turned to the Washington-based non-governmental organization HarvestPlus and its use of biofortification, breeding more vitamins and minerals in staple food crops, to address micronutrient deficiency.

    Last year, after a decade of research,  HarvestPlus released an iron-enriched pearl millet seed to farmers in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

    The biofortified millet, which is then made into a flat bread, or roti, can provide 30 percent of the average daily iron needs of adult women, which is crucial in a region where an estimated 66 percent of children under five are anemic.

    India is the latest country to enter the realm of biofortification. Several countries in Africa, including Zambia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, already plant seeds enriched with nutrients.

    “Africans eat white sweet potato, Africans eat white maize [corn], Africans eat white cassava, but there is a big vitamin A deficiency problem," says Dr. Howarth Bouis, director of HarvestPlus. "So, we have an orange sweet potato now that has been available in Africa for the last five years and we have been disseminating that.”

    In Zambia, farmers planted orange corn for the first time last November.

    Bouis says yellow cassava seeds were released in Nigeria more than a year ago and farmers are harvesting the vitamin A-rich crop for the first time this year. HarvestPlus says one-third of children under five in Nigeria and 61 percent in the Democratic Republic of Congo are estimated to be vitamin A deficient.

    In South Asia, HarvestPlus plans to introduce high-zinc rice in India and Bangladesh and high-zinc wheat in parts of India and Pakistan later this year.

    You May Like

    Video For Many US Veterans, the Vietnam War Continues

    More than 40 years after it ended, war in Vietnam and America’s role in it continue to provoke bitter debate, especially among those who fought in it

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    100 immigrants graduated Friday as US citizens in New York, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in cities across country

    Family's Fight Pays Off With Arlington Cemetery Burial Rights for WASPs

    Policy that allowed the Women Airforce Service Pilots veterans to receive burial rites at Arlington had been revoked in 2015

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: bharati from: bharat
    March 05, 2013 1:03 PM
    There are (and were) plenty of local, rich nutritious strains of grains, which thrive in local conditions. These can be revived rather than importing new foods/ newly created strains.

    There are tons of manure and sewage which can be treated and used for revitalizing soils.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora