Biotech Updates

Pearl Millet Set for Release in India Next Year

February 11, 2011

Micronutrient deficiency is very rampant in the undernourished populations of South Asia. This is the reason why HarvestPlus and its partners are continuously developing the nutrient contents of staple crops commonly eaten by the poor. In 2012, high-iron pearl millet, the first biofortified crop, will be released in India. According to reports, 70% of children below 5 in states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Uttar Pradesh where pearl millet is a staple food, are anemic due to lack of iron intake.

"These will be higher yielding and will also have a high iron content," says Dr. Kedar Rai, Director of the HarvestPlus India Biofortification Program. This will not just boost the income of farmers, but also improve the health condition of their families.

High-zinc varieties of rice and wheat are also being developed and scheduled for release in 2013.