The majority of the population in Africa lives in rural areas and depends on what they grow to feed themselves. However, most rely on a major staple that offers calories but usually inadequate nutrients leading to malnutrition or “hidden hunger”. When people do not get the right quantities of vitamins and minerals in their diet, they are more susceptible sickness and diseases. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies and do not have enough Vitamin A, iron, and zinc needed to maintain a healthy diet.
Scientists at IITA and Harvest Plus in partnership with others have found ways to add these essential vitamins and minerals to everyday foods such as maize, cassava, and beans through biofortification – a process by which the nutritional quality of a food crop is enhanced through plant breeding.