“Biofortification is a business strategy, not a solution to global malnutrition.” — Sylvia Mallari, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty
At the end of 2018, the government of India announced that the use of biofortified rice will become mandatory in all school meals and public nutrition programmes across the country by December 2019. India is one of the target countries for the release of several biofortified crops like iron and zinc pearl millet, iron and zinc rice and provitamin A rice.
Since they were first released in 2004, the use of biofortified crops has been growing in many developing countries. Biofortification is the process of increasing a few nutrients in crops through plant breeding, whether using conventional techniques or biotechnology. From Peru to Tanzania to Indonesia, governments are accepting these crops with open arms. National agriculture research agencies have made biofortification a priority and donors are putting a lot of money into it. The argument that this is a cheap way to address malnutrition seems to have won governments over. But do they really address health problems? Who is behind them and what is their agenda? Could they actually make things worse?
GRAIN took a look at the current status of biofortification in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the emerging critiques from feminist perspectives and food sovereignty movements. What they found is a worrisome push for a top-down and anti-diversity approach to food and health that may ultimately undermine people’s capacities to strengthen their local food systems.
[Read full report by GRAIN or download as pdf here: https://grain.org/e/6246 ]