The Brazilian biofortification program (BioFORT Network), ends 2016 completing an agenda focused on strengthening with its partners. The state government of Maranhão officially signed an agreement for joint activities in technology transfer with the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), responsible for the coordination of the BioFORT Network. These incentives will guarantee small farmers to boost agricultural production, especially in the Region of Cocais, a territory that consists of 17 municipalities with a total population about 750,000 inhabitants, of whom 30% live in rural areas (11 739 families settled), according to The Ministry of Agrarian Development (MDA).
Among the other activities promoted were the ones carried out with the Foundation for Scientific and Technological Development (Fundetec, in portuguese), Embrapa Food Technology, Magé City Hall, the Centro Nacional de Tecnología Agropecuaria y Forestal (CENTA/El Salvador). The work developed with these partners focused on the training of technical staff and the distribution of seeds, this one being made only by Fundetec and the City of Magé.
The BioFORT Network has obtained relevant results in the northeast, southeast and south regions of Brazil, where about 20,000 people had access to at least one of these cultivars. The coordinator of the BioFORT Network in Latin America and the Caribbean, and also a researcher at Embrapa Food Technology, Marília Nutti, highlights the implementation of 120 Demonstration Units in these regions, whose material is collected for school lunches and families of rural producers in the municipalities.
The BioFORT Network is responsible for gather all biofortification projects in the country, and is currently coordinated by Embrapa. Brazil presents a differentiated aspect of the other countries in relation to the development of biofortification. It is the only country where work is carried out at the same time with eight different cultures: pumpkin, rice, sweet potato, beans, cowpea beans, cassava, maize and wheat. The investments are made by the federal government, state governments, research institutions and international organizations.
According to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 48% of the world’s children under five years of age have anemia (iron deficiency) and 30% have vitamin A deficiency. In Brazil, the numbers are also high, with 55% of children under five years of age presenting iron deficiency and 13% deficient in vitamin A.
Raphael Marques da Silva