Fortification or Biofortification: Complimentary strategies or duplication of effort?

Lowe, Nicola M orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-6934-2768 (2024) Fortification or Biofortification: Complimentary strategies or duplication of effort? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society . ISSN 0029-6651

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Micronutrient deficiencies continue to be a global concern, with the most common deficiencies being vitamin A, iron, zinc and B vitamins (folate and B12). Addressing this requires strategies that are scalable and equitable such that they reach all members of a population irrespective of socioeconomic status and geography. Fortification and biofortification offer potential large-scale solutions, however each have strengths and limitations depending on the context, particularly the cultural and political factors that may create barriers or opportunities for effectiveness. Planning how to target scarce resources for maximum impact requires an in-depth knowledge and understanding of local food systems and market dynamics, alongside strong government policy and legislative support. A food fortification programme was launched in Pakistan in 2016, supported by UK Aid and designed to address the high prevalence of vitamin A, iron and zinc deficiency, particularly in women and children. In the same year the first zinc biofortified variety of wheat, Zincol-2016, was released in Pakistan, supported and developed through the HarvestPlus programme in collaboration with the Pakistan National Agriculture Research Centre. This review explores the challenges faced by fortification and biofortification, initiated independently, (but around the same time) in Pakistan.

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