Mineral packed crops

Researchers associated with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 12 countries have embarked on a project that aims to develop new varieties of food crops that will be better at absorbing critical minerals directly from the soil.

Says Howarth E Bouis, director, CGIAR Micronutrients Project, "This is a low-cost approach to fighting malnutrition that could improve farm productivity and benefit the environment at the same time." Crops such as corn, wheat, rice, beans and cassava, which are primary sources of food for a majority of the world's poor, lack sufficient amounts of minerals and essential vitamins that prevent disease. Bouis says that the nutrient-packed crops could be ready for production in 6 years.