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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora