Biofortification as a technology is not able to solve the whole challenge to malnutrition. However it does have distinct advantages that enable it to contribute significantly to the fight against malnutrition.
As the technology is built into the seed, it can sustainably perpetuate that nutrition as the crop reproduces over several generations thereby giving a high nutritional return with regard to the investment made. It can be added to staple crops that are suited for resource poor and marginal communities. It is sustainable as crop production can continue without external support from government or the private sector. Also, the technology is unlikely to compromise crop yields.
All technologies require a suitable environment for them to operate efficiently. This requires that the entire crop value chain is addressed; selection of suitable seed, proper agronomic care, post harvest handling, marketing and distribution, supportive government policy, access to credit and microfinance, supply of affordable and accessible inputs.
Biofortification can effectively combine with industrial fortification to develop more cost effective and affordable fortified foods. For example, an improved protein quality sorghum variety can reduce the fortification-related production costs of enriched sorghum porridge meal. Reduction in industrial fortification costs benefits the producer and the savings can be passed on to the consume Also, biofortified crops are suitable for school feeding programs and as part of a food aid package. They can also be modified through food processing into similar foodstuff as conventional crops.
The ABS project recognizes the importance of a comprehensive and holistic strategy that addresses the complex and interrelated challenges that are related to the biofortification technology. The technology development team focuses on enhancing the efficiency of the technology while the product development team adds those enhancements to the product as it is being developed.
The enabling environment team is focusing on promoting the acceptability and preparing for the introduction of the product into the target environment. They deal with issues such as stakeholder communications, government affairs, intellectual property, community engagement and networking with other nutritional projects and initiatives. The project sets an example of how biofortification as part of a package can deliver meaningful and sustainable impact to deal with malnutrition.