According to a report in the Agro-Bio- a Bogota-based association for the promotion of biotechnology, it has been revealed that Scientists from Colombia and five other countries have developed a genetically modified variety of rice which has high content of iron and zinc. The new variety was a project of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and drew on work by scientists from Colombia, and in association with the other countries such as Philippines, Indonesia, United States, Australia and Japan. Under this project, researchers combined rice and soy-ferritin genes to produce a grain with high content of micronutrients and implanted the modified genes in the world’s most-cultivated variety of rice, which comes from Southeast Asia, where deficiencies in iron and zinc are very much common.
Further, under this project, it has also been stated by the Agro-Bio that due to regulatory requirements, the enriched rice will take a minimum of four years to reach the market. Foods derived from transgenic crops and scientific innovations in agriculture really contribute to food security and they can improve the diet of populations who now suffer nutrient deficiencies as it has been emphasized by the Agro-Bio Director Maria Andrea Uscategui. In addition, the new rice is a step ahead towards an efforts to fight the lack of micronutrients or hidden hunger, as narrated by the association. Furthermore, in this regard, it has also been reported in the Agro-Bio that “hidden hunger” affects roughly 38 percent of pregnant women and 43 percent of toddlers worldwide, with the impact concentrated in developing countries.