FAPESP – Agricultural staples richer in vitamins and nutrients than those currently consumed, such as a cassava with 40 times more vitamin A than the typical one, for example, are now in the final phase of field testing at the Campinas Institute of Agronomy (IAC). In addition, varieties of eight food species – pumpkin, rice, sweet potatoes, beans, cowpeas (black-eyed peas), maize (corn), cassava and wheat – richer in iron and zinc and with greater resistance to disease and climate change are already on the market or in the final phase of development at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). This is a process known as food biofortification, carried out through classical breeding methods that seek to crossbreed different varieties, such as plants with disease resistance, a high yield and good nutritional characteristics with more vitamins and minerals. The work is slow and time consuming and may take 10 to 15 years.
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