Producing Healthier Foods
In addition to helping farmers grow more food on less land, Mosaic is working to grow more nutritious foods through biofortification, a process that increases key micronutrient levels in crops. Improving the nutritional content of staple foods that are consumed daily in developing countries is a sustainable way to help reduce malnutrition, especially among women and children who are most at risk of micronutrient deficiency.
Mosaic is working with a consortium of institutions on the HarvestZinc Fertilizer Project (http://www.harvestzinc.org) to explore and test how fertilizers can be used to increase zinc levels in rice, wheat and maize.
Nearly 50% of the world's cereal-cultivated soils are deficient in zinc, which results in decreased crop yields and zinc-deficient grains.
Zinc deficient soils (Alloway, 2008)
Recent estimates indicate that zinc deficiency affects one-third of the world's population, with the highest incidence in developing countries reliant on cereal-based diets. Zinc deficiency in humans can impair physical development, the immune system and brain function.
Zinc deficiency risk around the world (http://www.izincg.org/)
Through the HarvestZinc Fertilizer Project, Mosaic is collaborating with agronomists, plant breeders, human nutritionists and farmers to improve the zinc nutritional status of cereal crops through agronomic biofortification. Project participants are also working to optimize genetic efforts to increase zinc levels in staple food crops in India, China, Pakistan, Thailand, Turkey, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Brazil.