Ensure that research to innovate in the fields of food science and security are incentivized
In this day and age, it is especially important for countries such as Bangladesh, where food security and quality still remain an issue, to take advantage of scientific advancements to ensure that, when it comes to a necessity as basic as food, each and every citizen is cared for.
As such, it is encouraging to see Bangladesh and the Philippines ready the release of the world’s first vitamin A enriched rice varieties, taking another step in the fight against deficiency of important nutrients.
Vitamin A deficiency remains the main cause of preventable blindness in children, with 350,000 of them going blind every year while almost 7 million children die due to its deficiency.
And the case is not much different in Bangladesh -- it is indeed a great tragedy that, according to the World Health Organization, in Bangladesh, one in every five pre-school children is vitamin A deficient while around 24% of all pregnant women suffer from it.
This goes to show the potential that genetically modified food such as this rice variant has in preventing death and disease in the future, while also making food affordable, as people can now get more of the nutrients they need.
The government would do well to ensure that research to innovate in the fields of food science and security are incentivized, as advancements in these areas go a long way towards preventing severe issues, such as vitamin A deficiency, in the future.
We hope that this joint effort by Bangladesh and the Philippines is approved soon and is the first step amongst many in ensuring food security, not only in Bangladesh but also across the world.