Panama is the first Latin American country to have adopted a national strategy to combat what is known as hidden hunger, with a plan aimed at eliminating micronutrient deficiencies among the most vulnerable segments of the population by means of biofortification of food crops.
Latin America is one of the regions in the world suffering from “hidden hunger” - a chronic lack of the micronutrients needed to ward off problems like anaemia, blindness, impaired immune systems, and stunted growth.
Brazilian farmer Isabel Michi’s day starts before dawn, when she goes out to the organic garden on her small five-hectare farm that she runs with help from her husband and occasionally their children.
Rodolfo Razão, an elderly small farmer in Mozambique, obtained an official land usage certificate for his 10 hectares in 2010, but he has only been able to use seven. The rest was occupied by a South African company that grows soy, maize and beans on some 10,000 hectares in the northeast of the country.
Crop yields in Brazil, an agricultural powerhouse, are set to decline as a result of climate change, according to the most complete diagnosis yet of climate trends in this country.
It took Brazil four decades to overcome food insecurity and earn a place as a major global food supplier. Now its experiences will contribute to the evidence base for a new initiative that seeks to reconcile agriculture and the conservation of biological diversity.
Ten years ago, Brazil yielded to agribusiness pressure and legalised the cultivation of genetically modified (GM) soy. Today it is the world’s second leading producer of GM crops, surpassed only by the United States.
In less than 10 years, consumers throughout Brazil will have access to eight biofortified “superfoods” being developed by the country’s scientists. A pilot initiative is currently underway in 15 municipalities.