News / Asia

Indian Farmers on Frontline of 'Hidden Hunger' Fight

In India, Biofortification Efforts Address Micronutrient Deficiencyi
X
May 03, 2013 6:33 PM
In western India, farmers are among the first in the country to harvest crops that are fortified with key nutrients. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the Indian state of Maharashtra.
Aru Pande
In western India, farmers like Popat Pokharkar are among the first in the country to harvest crops that are fortified with key nutrients to combat what is being called the country's hidden hunger.
 
Pokharkar, a fourth-generation farmer, is just getting ready to harvest this year’s pearl millet crop. The grain — a staple in India and in parts of Africa — helps feed his family and livestock at a time when much of his home state of Maharashtra is experiencing a drought.
 
“In the summer season, it’s the best crop when there is limited water and it is more nutritious for the children,” he says, explaining that this particular pearl millet, unlike varieties grown by his forefathers, is enriched with iron.
 
As part of a program run by Washington-based non-governmental organization HarvestPlus, farmers in this village outside the city of Pune are spearheading biofortification efforts to address micronutrient deficiency in a country where one in three children is said to be malnourished.
 
“Villagers and tribal people are malnutritioned, so this is the only way — a cheap way with less cost — to increase their vitamins [and] irons, all these micronutrients that are needed for the health of the body," said Sunil Gandham of Nirmal Seeds, who partnered with HarvestPlus to provide iron-fortified seeds in what he calls the new direction of agriculture.
 
“Programs like this are crucial in a country where more than 60 percent of women are iron deficient or anemic, leading to problems in pregnancy, childbirth and in the growth and development of young children.”
 
Some 20 percent of maternal deaths in India are caused by anemia, a decrease in red blood cells that is often caused by iron and vitamin deficiency.
 
Parwath Pokharkar has seen the effects of anemia in her village.
 
“A lot of women experience heavy bleeding, tiredness, and you cannot sustain, you cannot do work,” she said.
 
She and others welcome efforts to fortify staple crops. In the case of pearl millet or bajra, the grain is made into a flat bread, or roti, which is eaten everyday by families in Maharashtra.
 
The biofortified millet can provide 30 percent of the mean daily iron requirement of women and children.
 
Farmer Dhanesh Pokharkar says the benefit will be widespread.
 
“This will help not only to my family but also the laborers who harvest the millet, they eat the same grain,” he said.
 
HarvestPlus has already introduced Vitamin A-enriched sweet potato and cassava seeds in Africa. Here in India, the organization plans to launch high-zinc rice and wheat in parts of the country later this year.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Announce Breakthrough on Nuclear Deal

update Deal resolves differences over liability of suppliers to India in event of a nuclear accident, U.S. demands on tracking whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: mohamed nasrudeen from: madurai
May 04, 2013 3:37 AM
It;s an fake report

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid