Hidden hunger, micronutrient deficiencies


The food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication. In Africa, there is need for increased awareness towards malnutrition and community-based nutrition promotion for small-holder farmers. Vegetable production is the most sustainable and affordable way of alleviating micronutrient deficiencies among the vulnerable. Vitamin A, iron, and iodine are not found in staple crops, but rather, in vegetables. In addition to the essential macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins), vitamins and minerals – also known as micronutrients – contribute to good health and are necessary for growth and development. Micronutrient deficiencies cause significant health complications, deficiency-related disorders, and increase the risk of mortality and burden of disease. Unlike energy-protein undernourishment, the health impacts of micronutrient deficiency are not always acutely visible; hence the term ‘hidden hunger’. There is need to promote the cultivation of foods that contain micronutrients.