Agronomic biofortification of crops to fight hidden hunger in sub-Saharan Africa
This review (PDF) in the Global Food Security journal discusses the effectiveness of agronomic biofortification – the application of mineral micronutrient fertilizers to soils or plant leaves to increase micronutrient contents in edible parts of crops – and it’s potential to fight hidden hunger. There is evidence that agronomic biofortification can increase yields and the nutritional quality of staple crops, but there is a lack of direct evidence that this leads to improved human health. Micronutrient fertilization is most effective in combination with NPK, organic fertilizers and improved crop varieties, highlighting the importance of integrated soil fertility management. Agronomic biofortification provides an immediate and effective route to enhancing micronutrient concentrations in edible crop products, although genetic biofortification may be more cost effective in the long run. The authors recommend to set up experiments and pilot-scale fertilization programmes in sub-Saharan Africa, to further explore this knowledge gap.
In April 2016 the Food & Bussines Knowledge Platform held an event on this subject. The “Micronutrient management for improving harvests, farmers’ incomes, human nutrition, and the environment” was held in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It brought together stakeholders from different scientific disciplines and sectors to explore the potential roles and functionalities of micronutrient management and to identify the agenda for knowledge development. A preparatory Essay by Wageningen UR in collaboration with the Food & Bussines Knowledge Platform and IFDC served as background reading.