Firstly thank you for making the zero draft open for consultation. The International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) proposes to amend Clause 19 to include “input industries” among the actors whose contribution is essential to reshaping the food system.
Input industries such as the seed industry and the fertilizer industry can bring quantifiable and qualitative improvements to the availability of macro and micronutrients in the food we eat through genetic and agronomic biofortification.
Genetic biofortification such as that conducted by plant breeders from Harvest Plus who produced several orange sweet potato varieties with beta-carotene content of 30–100 parts per million (ppm), compared with the 2 ppm in local varieties can bring significant improvements to food and nutrition security. This beta-carotene is then converted to vitamin A in the body. Following a successful implementation and adoption campaign, vitamin A deficiency in children aged 12 – 35 months in Mozambique fell by 25-33% in Mozambique and by 31-34% among the same group in Uganda.
Agronomic fortification can be done from the ground (soil) up. By adding zinc or iodine to fertilizer blends, the fertilizer industry can help tackle micronutrient deficiencies, which in turn diminish an array of health conditions, including stunting. In an effort to eradicate health issues related to zinc deficiencies that were prevalent in Turkey, a project led by the Unversities of Cukurova and Sabanci increased levels of zinc in fertilizer for wheat crops in the Central Anatolian region. The results were staggering, with yields increasing as much as 500%. As the nutrients were passed from the soil, to the crop, to the people, levels of zinc deficiency in the population also dropped considerably.
These are only two of many examples of how simple agronomic and genetic solutions from the input industries can improve the food system. Therefore, we strongly recommend that Clause 19 be amended to read:
19. Recognize that eradicating malnutrition in all its forms depends on the active engagement of citizens working with committed, responsible and proactive governments, civil society and the private sector through interaction among stakeholders, often involving new modes. Scientists, educators, the media, community groups, input industries, food producers and processors, retailers, farmers, consumer organizations, and faith organizations need to contribute to the common agenda to reshape the food system. The United Nations system must work more effectively together to enhance international cooperation and solidarity to improve nutrition and support national efforts to accelerate progress against malnutrition.
***For more information about biofortification please see the following resources:
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The FSN Forum is supported by the project Coherent food security responses: incorporating right to food into global and regional food security initiatives.