Pakistan will be the first country to introduce a zinc-rich wheat variety available for sowing later this year, according to the country’s Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan.
After the country worked to fortify wheat with iron and salt with iodine, Pakistan’s wheat biofortification program was launched with the goal of the fortification of its wheat with zinc.
Speaking at a roundtable regarding the “HarvestPlus Biofortification Program in Pakistan”, the minister announced that the variety, called Zincol 2015, has been submitted to provincial seed councils and has been recommended for approval by the Variety Evaluation Committee of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).
Bosan stated that biofortification is a sustainable, cost-effective, and successful tool in combating the country’s ‘hidden hunger’. As many as 43% of all Pakistani children under the age of five do not get enough zinc in their diet points out Secretary National Food Security and Research, Seerat Asghar, adding “Minerals and vitamin deficiencies cost Pakistan nearly $3 billion in GDP losses annually.”
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