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The Fight Against Hunger and MalnutritionThe Role of Food, Agriculture, and Targeted Policies$
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David E. Sahn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198733201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198733201.001.0001

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The Micronutrient Deficiencies Challenge in African Food Systems

The Micronutrient Deficiencies Challenge in African Food Systems

(p.61) 3 The Micronutrient Deficiencies Challenge in African Food Systems
The Fight Against Hunger and Malnutrition

Christopher B. Barrett

Leah E. M. Bevis

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows that, contrary to much conventional wisdom, the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies declines less quickly with per capita income growth than do the wasting or undernourishment indicators that guide most popular and high-level policy discussions of hunger and food insecurity. The chapter reviews the many entry points within food systems through which micronutrient deficiencies might be addressed, from biofortification of seed to pre-planting mineral amendments to soils and water, to post-harvest preservation of vitamins and of minerals in processing, to fortification of food with essential minerals during processing, to consumer education and subsidies or taxes to change relative prices among food groups. Because micronutrient deficiencies often lead to health insults with irreversible consequences for cognitive and physical work capacity, The chapter focuses on food systems in Africa, the world region in which micronutrient deficiencies are most severe, ultra-poverty is most pervasive, and the evidence on poverty traps most compelling.

Keywords:   biofortification, fortification, malnutrition, minerals, poverty traps, stunting, vitamins, wasting

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