Economics of Biofortification
AbstractMicronutrient malnutrition affects billions of people world-wide, causing serious health problems. Different micronutrient interventions are currently being used, but their overall coverage is relatively limited. Biofortification that is, breeding staple food crops for higher micronutrient contents has been proposed as a new agriculture-based approach. Yet, as biofortified crops are still under development, relatively little is known about their economic impacts and wider ramifications. In this article, the main factors that will influence their future success are discussed, and a methodology for economic impact assessment is presented, combining agricultural, nutrition, and health aspects. Ex ante studies from India and other developing countries suggest that biofortified crops can reduce the problem of micronutrient malnutrition in a cost-effective way, when they are targeted to specific situations. Projected social returns on research investments are high and competitive with productivity-enhancing agricultural technologies. These promising results notwithstanding, biofortification should be seen as a complement rather than a substitute for existing micronutrient interventions, since the magnitude and complexity of the problem necessitate a multiplicity of approaches. Further research is needed to corroborate these findings and to address certain issues still unresolved at this stage.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by International Association of Agricultural Economists in its series 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia with number 25584.
Date of creation: 2006
Date of revision:
micronutrient malnutrition; public health; biofortification; agricultural technology; impact analysis; developing countries; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; I1; I3; O1; O3; Q1;
Other versions of this item:
- I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare and Poverty
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
- Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture
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