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Potential impacts of iron biofortification in India

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  • Stein, Alexander J.
  • Meenakshi, J.V.
  • Qaim, Matin
  • Nestel, Penelope
  • Sachdev, H.P.S.
  • Bhutta, Zulfiqar A.

Abstract

Iron deficiency is a widespread nutrition and health problem in developing countries, causing impairments in physical activity and cognitive development, as well as maternal mortality. Although food fortification and supplementation programmes have been effective in some countries, their overall success remains limited. Biofortification, that is, breeding food crops for higher micronutrient content, is a relatively new approach, which has been gaining international attention recently. We propose a methodology for ex ante impact assessment of iron biofortification, building on a disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) framework. This methodology is applied in an Indian context. Using a large and representative data set of household food consumption, the likely effects of iron-rich rice and wheat varieties are simulated for different target groups and regions. These varieties, which are being developed by an international public research consortium, based on conventional breeding techniques, might be ready for local distribution within the next couple of years. The results indicate sizeable potential health benefits. Depending on the underlying assumptions, the disease burden associated with iron deficiency could be reduced by 19-58%. Due to the relatively low institutional cost to reach the target population, the expected cost-effectiveness of iron biofortification compares favourably with other micronutrient interventions. Nonetheless, biofortification should not be seen as a substitute for other interventions. Each approach has its particular strengths, so they complement one another.

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  • Stein, Alexander J. & Meenakshi, J.V. & Qaim, Matin & Nestel, Penelope & Sachdev, H.P.S. & Bhutta, Zulfiqar A., 2008. "Potential impacts of iron biofortification in India," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(8), pages 1797-1808, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:8:p:1797-1808
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    1. Chege, Christine G.K. & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Impacts Of Supermarkets On Farm Household Nutrition In Kenya," 2014 International Congress, August 26-29, 2014, Ljubljana, Slovenia 182724, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Meenakshi, J.V. & Johnson, Nancy L. & Manyong, Victor M. & DeGroote, Hugo & Javelosa, Josyline & Yanggen, David R. & Naher, Firdousi & Gonzalez, Carolina & García, James & Meng, Erika, 2010. "How Cost-Effective is Biofortification in Combating Micronutrient Malnutrition? An Ex ante Assessment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 64-75, January.
    3. Pandey, Vijay Laxmi & Mahendra Dev, S. & Jayachandran, Usha, 2016. "Impact of agricultural interventions on the nutritional status in South Asia: A review," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 28-40.
    4. Nguema, Abigail & Norton, George W. & Fregene, Martin & Sayre, Richard & Manary, Mark, 2011. "Expected economic benefits of meeting nutritional needs through biofortified cassava in Nigeria and Kenya," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 6(1), March.
    5. Roemling, Cornelia & Qaim, Matin, 2013. "Dual burden households and intra-household nutritional inequality in Indonesia," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 563-573.
    6. Lividini, Keith & Fiedler, John L., 2015. "Assessing the promise of biofortification: A case study of high provitamin A maize in Zambia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 65-77.
    7. Chege, Christine G. K. & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Impacts of supermarkets on farm household nutrition in Kenya," Discussion Papers 167910, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    8. Meenakshi J V, 2016. "Trends and Patterns in the Triple Burden of Malnutrition in India," Working Papers id:11238, eSocialSciences.
    9. Gunaratna, Nilupa S. & Groote, Hugo De & Nestel, Penelope & Pixley, Kevin V. & McCabe, George P., 2010. "A meta-analysis of community-based studies on quality protein maize," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 202-210, June.
    10. Chiputwa, Brian & Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Sustainability standards, gender, and nutrition among smallholder farmers in Uganda," Discussion Papers 191001, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    11. Asare-Marfo, Dorene & Birol, Ekin & Gonzalez, Carolina & Moursi, Mourad & Perez, Salomon & Schwarz, Jana & Zeller, Manfred, 2013. "Prioritizing countries for biofortification Interventions using country-level data," HarvestPlus Working Papers 11, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    12. Chege, Christine G.K. & Andersson, Camilla I.M. & Qaim, Matin, 2015. "Impacts of Supermarkets on Farm Household Nutrition in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 394-407.
    13. Horton, Sue & Wesley, Annie & Venkatesh Mannar, M.G., 2011. "Double-fortified salt reduces anemia, benefit:cost ratio is modestly favorable," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 581-587, October.
    14. Qaim, Matin, 2014. "Evaluating nutrition and health impacts of agricultural innovations," Discussion Papers 185785, Georg-August-Universitaet Goettingen, GlobalFood, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development.
    15. Banerji, Abhijit & Birol, Ekin & Karandikar, Bhushana & Rampal, Jeevant, 2016. "Information, branding, certification, and consumer willingness to pay for high-iron pearl millet: Evidence from experimental auctions in Maharashtra, India," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 133-141.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Iron deficiency Biofortification DALYs Impact assessment India Cost-effectiveness analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • O - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth

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