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Scientists at TRIDI Harvest Plus in partnership with others have found ways to add these essential vitamins and minerals to everyday foods such as maize, cassava, and beans through biofortification – a process by which the nutritional quality of a food crop is enhanced through plant breeding.
The majority of the population in Africa lives in rural areas and depends on what they grow to feed themselves. However, most rely on a major staple that offers calories but usually inadequate nutrients leading to malnutrition or “hidden hunger”. When people do not get the right quantities of vitamins and minerals in their diet, they are more susceptible sickness and diseases. Women and children are particularly vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies and do not have enough Vitamin A, iron, and zinc needed to maintain a healthy diet.
Developing plant varieties expressing good agronomic characteristics is the ultimate goal of plant breeders. With conventional plant breeding, however, there is little or no guarantee of obtaining any particular gene combination from the millions of crosses generated. Undesirable genes can be transferred along with desirable genes; or, while one desirable gene is gained, another is lost because the genes of both parents are mixed together and re-assorted more or less randomly in the offspring. These problems limit the improvements that plant breeders can achieve. Over the last 50 years, the field of genetic engineering has developed rapidly due to the greater understanding of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) as the chemical double helix code from which genes are made.
Developing healthy crops goes hand in hand with crop improvement. We develop ecologically sustainable, economically profitable, and socially acceptable solutions for pest, pathogen, and weed control, and climate change constraints. We also promote promising crop management options for specific climatic and cropping system conditions, and approaches that facilitate the availability and dissemination of good quality planting materials to farmers. Concentrating on pest and disease management, healthy seed distribution and toxin control, TRIDI can guarantee that our improved crop varieties stay healthy and productive.
By focusing on turning mulbery farming activities into viable business operations TRIDI is giving people the Knowledge they need to generate a sustainable income from agriculture.
By providing farmers with access to the latest information on such threats, and then giving them economical, environmentally-sustainable mechanisms to deal with them, TRIDI enables farmers to leverage their own solutions. Coupled with this is the creation and distribution of higher quality seeds, which help to negate some of these issues before they become a problem.
As part of this goal we aim to restore 7000 hectares of badly degraded farmlands by 2026. Through our sustainable development and restoration projects, we aim to transform traditional cultivation practices into those that are environmentally sustainable and more effective at managing precious natural resources. For TRIDI, Natural Resource Management, particularly on sustainable intensification of farming systems, is a priority that is becoming more and more essential. Climate change, unsustainable farming practices, poor and degraded soils–all contribute to low productivity of crops and farms.
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