Among humanity’s largest challenges is how to come to grips with poverty and starvation, and how to feed the growing world population. As many as 24,000 people die every day of starvation and malnutrition, to a large extent because of micronutrient deficiencies. One of the most serious is vitamin A deficiency (VAD).
Already in 2002, it was possible to biofortify rice with beta-carotene, from which the human body synthesizes vitamin A. But the crop is still not in the fields of the farmers, because the rice is genetically engineered. After solving the issue of the patents making the rice freely available, there has been a whole range of obstacles, which so far have delayed the launching of this Golden Rice by about ten years, compromising the lives of millions.
The main focus of this report from the Bertebos Conference 2008, is on Golden Rice and other genetically modified and biofortified crops, on the potential they have for the world population, and on which challenges have to be overcome before they can be used. Of all priorities, the highest urgency is for the poor in the developing countries.