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Developing Countries: Malnutrition

Department for International Development written question – answered on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Virendra Sharma Virendra Sharma Labour, Ealing, Southall

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps his Department's climate and agriculture teams will take to ensure that the development of more climate resilient crop varieties will improve nutritional outcomes for the poorest people in countries with the highest burden of malnutrition and food insecurity; and what steps his Department will take to track those outcomes.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

DFID funds the development of new crop varieties which are high yielding, climate and disease resilient, and have improved nutritional value. This includes flood tolerant rice that reduces risks for 10 million smallholders in South Asia, and drought tolerant maize that delivers more stable yields under climate stress being grown by 3 million households in Africa. DFID also supports the development and delivery of biofortified crops, which are conventionally bred with higher levels of zinc, iron and Vitamin A, as well as climate-resilient traits such as drought and pest tolerance. By 2018, DFID had reached over 8 million households with these climate-resilient and nutritious crops such as high iron beans and pearl millet, and orange sweet potato (high in Vitamin A).

DFID plans to reach 13.5 million households in countries with high levels of nutrition insecurity by 2022 with these new biofortified crops. DFID tracks outcomes closely through its international research partners, and invests in the generation of high quality evidence to measure impact and cost-effectiveness of such interventions.

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