Use Biotechnology to Alleviate Hidden Hunger, Don’t Shun It
Oct. 16, 2015
In September, global leaders converged at the United Nations in New York to establish the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), picking up where the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concluded this year. Whereas the original MDG of halving global hunger by 2015 has been met in terms of correcting the calorie deficit, inadequate access to quality calories and important nutrients – hidden hunger – still affects nearly 800 million people, many of them children. The newly established SDGs aim to end hunger in all its forms within the next 15 years.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, almost five million children under the age of five die of malnutrition-related causes every year – a staggering number. Important initiatives like today’s World Food Day shine a light on this tragedy, and public-private partnerships have rallied to develop genetically modified crops that can help alleviate the hunger and malnutrition problems that plague many developing nations.
Countries like China, India and Indonesia are dependent on rice for as much as 80 percent of their caloric intake. But rice does not naturally produce many important nutrients, like vitamin A or iron. Children who rely on rice-based diets can suffer from impaired immune systems, blindness or even death due to nutrient deficiencies.