Virtual CRP Biofortification Progress and Planning meeting - July 5-6, 2021

The review meeting of ICAR-CRP Biofortification project was held on 05.07.2021 and 06.07.2021 from 10.30 AM to 04.00 PM through video conferencing. The meeting was coordinated by Dr. R. M. Sundaram, Director ICAR-IIRR and Coordinator, ICAR-CRP Biofortification and attended by the partner PIs and Co-PIs of centers for rice, wheat, maize, pearl millet, sorghum, small millets, NIN and NIANP. Dr. C. N. Neeraja, PI of the CRP project welcomed the participants, informed regarding the significance of the project for Bharat Poshan Abhiyan (National Nutrition Mission) and briefed the progress of the project from 2014-2021 in terms of released biofortified varieties, at the national and state levels, breeding material developed and identified QTLs and genes. Dr. R. M. Sundaram delivered opening remarks and emphasized the need of targeted research in improving cereal crops for micronutrients - iron, zinc, protein content for addressing the nation’s nutritional security. He underscored the need to take forward the genetic gains/ information from previous years to the current plan with a major focus on the commercialization of technologies/ products for the farmers and partnering with private companies. The work progress and planning were briefed center wise followed by discussions for improvement. It was highlighted that multiple nutrient varieties should be assessed for the bioavailability followed by clinical trials. Proposals were put forward for the inclusion of new centers on the basis of need for technologies, bioavailability studies and pigmented rice and wheat. Discussions for each crop regarding logistics of trials, equipment, policies and budget were made. The minutes of the meeting were noted by Dr. Haritha Bollinedi, Scientist IARI and Dr. Kalyani M. Barbadikar, Scientist ICAR-IIRR.