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A spatial perspective to introducing biofortified staple food crops in Colombia


  • Funes, J.
  • González, C.
  • Birol, E.
  • Moursi, M.
  • Zeller, M.


Micronutrient malnutrition affects 2 billion people worldwide and biofortification—the process of breeding and delivering staple food crops with higher micronutrient content— could prove to be a cost-effective strategy for its alleviation. There is, however, a dearth of information on where and in which crop-micronutrient combinations to invest for this strategy to be most effective and yield the highest impact. To fill in this gap, a global biofortification index (BPI) was developed (Asare-Marfo et al., 2013). It is based on three sub-indexes, namely production, consumption, and micronutrient deficiency, all developed with subnational-level representative data. The Global BPI, however, is not granular enough to suggest within country investment opportunities for biofortification. In this paper we develop a methodology for a subnational-level BPI, using Colombia as a case study. In order to guide strategies for geographic targeting and intervention within country, we set statistical conditions for each sub-index and classify geographic targeted areas as areas of: (1) impact and intervention, (2) impact, or (3) intervention. To further identify geographic areas for intervention, a spatial interaction index derived from an economic gravity model is used. This spatial interaction index helps to identify and link foodsurplus and food-deficit areas. Our empirical results show that crops biofortified with zinc, namely white maize and rice, should be introduced in the North Coast of Colombia; crops biofortified with vitamin A, namely yellow maize and cassava, should be introduced primarily in the Atlantic and Amazon regions of the country. Introduction of iron-biofortified beans in the Andean region, especially Tolima and Antioquia, could have the greatest impact. Finally, we also estimate area- or population-weighted subnational BPIs, which, depending on the objective, takes into account the intensity of crop production as well as the proportion of people at risk of micronutrient deficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Funes, J. & González, C. & Birol, E. & Moursi, M. & Zeller, M., 2015. "A spatial perspective to introducing biofortified staple food crops in Colombia," 150th Seminar, October 22-23, 2015, Edinburgh, Scotland 212674, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaa150:212674
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.212674

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arguello, Ricardo, 2009. "The Regional Impact of Discriminatory Trade Liberalization on Colombian Agriculture," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 39(2), pages 1-19.
    2. World Bank, 2014. "World Development Indicators 2014," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 18237, December.
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    1. Herrington, C. & Funes, J. & Lividini, K. & Moursi, M. & Taleon, V. & Asare-Marfo, D. & Birol, E., 2018. "Subnational Prioritization for Biofortification Interventions in Nigeria," 2018 Conference, July 28-August 2, 2018, Vancouver, British Columbia 277092, International Association of Agricultural Economists.

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