FAO calls for policy measures and government intervention on Biofortification

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s Senior Nutrition Officer, Dr. Patrizia Fracassi has called for policy measures and governments intervention on biofortification.

“The ultimate nutrition goal is that everyone has access to an affordable, diversified healthy diet. Biofortification is a cost-effective, food-based, nutrition-sensitive agricultural approach for improving nutrition. It is one of a range of complementary strategies, including diversification of various plants and animals in the production system, dietary diversification, supplementation and commercial food fortification. Biofortification is part of the solution to tackling malnutrition and hidden hunger,” affirms Dr. Fracassi.

According to her, national governments can achieve sustainable mainstreaming of biofortification by taking both a bottom-up approach via reinforced nutrition education programs and a top-down path through policy making. In terms of proper education, the FAO encourages governments to include biofortified inputs and foods in their programs, such as school meals as well as government subsidies and procurements. 

Furthermore, policy making includes integrating biofortification into existing agriculture, health and social safety net policies and programs, regulations and standards pertaining to seeds and foods, and varietal release protocols, Dr. Fracassi details.

“Governments can incentivize the private sector to increase uptake of biofortification in their product portfolios through tax breaks or subsidies for producing biofortified products and offering free or subsidized training on biofortified crops and foods,” she explains. Moreover, monitoring efforts and end-cycle evaluations can establish whether government programs deliver the intended outcomes and are contributing to the overall impact of reducing micronutrient deficiencies.

The food industry is not exempt from FAO’s vision of sustainable scaling up of biofortification. For example, efforts include increasing the availability and affordability of nutrient-dense foods, food fortification, safety and quality. Similarly, it can invest in agricultural research on crop varieties with high micronutrient content as well as in R&D to increase the availability and affordability of food-products from biofortified crops. These efforts combined can encourage consumer demand and consumption for nutrient-rich, biofortified foods.

Culled from NutritionInsight 

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