Introducing bio fortified staple crops with increased nutritious content can therefore have a very big impact, as the strategy relies on improving an already existing food supply and hence is sustainable.
The problem we aim to solve
The concrete phenomenon of hidden hunger i want to tackle is vitamin A deficiency because it is a major public health problem in Uganda. It causes xerophalmia and high rates of child mortality. People of all ages suffer from vitamin A deficiency but it is a particular problem in preschool age children.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required in very small quantities to maintain normal health. It performs several critical functions in the body, including normal functioning of the eyes and protection of the body from disease and infection. Vitamin A is required to maintain the integrity of tissues lining the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, genitourinary tract, and respiratory system and to ensure optimal functioning of the immune system, growth, and development.
Bio fortification capitalizes on the consistent daily intake of food, indirectly targeting low income households who cannot afford more diverse diet. After the initial investment of developing vitamin A fortified foods, no extra costs are met, making this strategy very sustsinable.it is an important component of dietary variety and to supplementation.an example of golden rice, rich in pro-vitamin A i which two gibes were introduced by genetic engineering. These encode the enzymes phytoene synthase (PSY) and phytoene desaturase (CRTI). Golden rice 1 contains the PSY gene from daffodil and the CRTI gene from the bacterium Erwinia uredovora, both expressed only in rice seed replacing PSY with genes from maize and rice increased the level of beta carotene by 23 times in golden rice 2. Half the daily recommended allowance of vitamin A for a 1-3 year old child would therefore be provided for in 72g of golden rice 2. In addition to rice, other crops can be engineered for higher beta carotene (pro-vitaminA) content which include potato, carrot, tomato etc. and these pro-vitamin A staple crops will help to combat vitamin A deficiency in a sustainable way.
The innovativeness of our approach
Vitamin A deficiency, particularly prevalent among children and causes irreversible blindness and increased susceptibility to disease and mortality hence the innovativeness about my approach is genetic engineering to produce staple food varieties rich in pro-vitamin A
Technologies and Methods
Bio fortified crops can be developed by traditional breeding methods, provided there is sufficient genetic variation in crop populations for the desired traits. In staple grains such as rice, improvement of some complex traits such as vitamin A is not possible using conventional breeding strategies, as there is no natural rice, potato variety rich in vitamin. Therefore agricultural biotechnology in particular genetic engineering represent a very valuable, complementary and sustainable strategy for the development of more nutritious crops.
Uganda national council for science and technology(UNCST), Uganda biosciences information Centre(UBIC), National agricultural research organization(NARO), national crops resources research institute (NaCCRI),food and agricultural organization in Uganda, hunger relief Africa – Uganda, Uganda food and nutrition policy, Uganda food security and nutrition support organization, ministry of health Uganda.
Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).