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May 15th, 2017 / Horizons, EU

More nutritious versions of staple crops could increase daily vitamin and mineral intake for millions of people with poor diets, helping to overcome undernourishment that can cause blindness, brittle bones, feeble muscles and brain damage.

Millions of people around the world hardly have enough food to survive. Many millions more may have enough to stave off hunger, but their diets lack micronutrients – vitamins and essential minerals. That can make them vulnerable to infections, weak bones or muscles, and problems with vision or mental health.

By developing enriched versions of staple crops, researchers aim to produce foods that can meet the nutritional requirements for a healthy diet.

‘We need sustainable agriculture to feed the growing population with adequate nutrients, besides just enough calories,’ said Dr Swati Puranik, of the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University in the UK.

She aims to develop calcium-rich finger millet – a staple for millions of people around the world, including some of the poorest in Asia and Africa. The hardy cereal grows in areas of low rainfall where many other grains would fail. Read more