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Jarot Indarto, SP, MT, MSc, Ph.D Director of Food and Agriculture Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas Dr. Fortunately Susanto, SP, MP Food Crops Research Center National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) ***
According to PerBapanas No. 2 of 2023, Fortified rice is enriched or added with one or more nutrients that are not naturally contained or contained in small amounts through agronomic or breeding interventions or the addition of nutrients. Referring to the regulation, biofortification itself is included in fortification. The agronomic approach in biofortification, where some research is done with fertilization, shows that it is still not sustainable so it needs to be given special treatment or additional inputs in each growing season. The plant breeding approach is considered more sustainable and massive so that this variety will be produced continuously in the area. It can reach distant areas and planted there and is efficient because with the plant breeding approach, it does not require additional inputs, so that it will occur naturally.
Food biofortification activities carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture have been ongoing for a long time, especially at the Rice Plant Research Center, Subang, West Java.
Furthermore, this activity was strengthened by PERPRES 18/2020 on the 2020-2024 National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN). The RPJMN stipulates that the Priority Program for Improving the Availability, Access and Quality of Food Consumption includes:
- Improving the quality of consumption, safety, food fortification and biofortification with the following programs
- development of rice seeds and genetically modified products,
- development of local food, diversification of food at the community level, and provision and improvement of food quality for school children;
- Increasing the availability of agricultural food and seafood sustainably to maintain the stability of supply and prices of basic needs, with the program
- facilitation of rice, corn, livestock and strategic food commodity cultivation,
- provision of production inputs (including fertilizers),
- national seed system;
- Increased productivity, sustainable agricultural human resources (HR) and market certainty, with the program
- strengthening the agricultural base,
- formation of farmer corporations, agricultural insurance,
- inclusive financing,
- training and counseling;
- Increased productivity, sustainable agricultural resources and agricultural digitalization, with the program
- land management especially suboptimal land, lowland and dryland, lowland dan lahan kering,
- water efficiency,
- production roads and farm roads;
- Improved governance of the national food system with the following programs
- logistics system strengthening,
- warehouse receipt development,
- sustainable food system management,
- urban food system management,
- food waste management.
In 2021, FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, and WHO reported in "The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World" with the theme "Transforming Food Systems for Food Security, Improved Nutrition and Affordable Healthy Diets for all" that fortification and biofortification are effective programs to reduce the magnitude of the problem of micronutrients and are sensitive to providing social protection for the poor. To date, biofortification programs have produced food varieties rich in zinc (rice and corn), rich in vitamin A (cassava, corn, and red sweet potato), and rich in iron (red beans, potatoes, and lentils).
In the initial draft of the National Long-Term Development Plan (RPJPN) one of Indonesia's transformation missions, which is related to biofortification, is economic transformation (among others: Science and Technology, Innovation, and Economic Productivity, implementation of green economy, and digital transformation), while the foundation of transformation is socio-cultural and ecological resilience (including energy, water and food self-sufficiency). The framework for implementing transformation in the RPJPN is to realize equal and equitable regional development, realize quality and environmentally friendly facilities and infrastructure, and realize sustainable development. Food-agriculture efforts that are sensitive to nutrition interventions can be described as follows:
- a. input: biofortified rice seeds; b. production: production of biofortified food, including zinc biofortified rice; c. processing: standardized food fortification, including fortified rice, wheat flour with iron and vitamin A, cooking oil with vitamin A, salt with iodine, and MSME development to meet SNI, d. distribution: assurance of food safety system; e. marketing: labeling, mandatory marketing (iodized salt); f. consumption: guidelines for balanced nutrition, consumer education about healthy food, diversification, and local food consumption; g. 'Monitoring and evaluation': It is necessary to analyze the situation of the problem of micro malnutrition regularly.
- production : produksi pangan biofortifikasi termasuk beras biofortifikasi zinc;
- processing : fortifikasi pangan terstandar, antara lain beras fortifikasi, tepung terigu dengan zat besi dan vitamin A, minyak goreng dengan vitamin A, garam dengan yodium, dan pengembangan UMKM untuk memenuhi SNI,
- distribution : keterjaminan sistem keamanan pangan;
- marketing : pelabelan, pemasaran wajib (garam beryodium);
- consumption : pedoman gizi seimbang, pendidikan konsumen tentang pangan sehat, diversifikasi, konsumsi pangan lokal;
- ’monitoring dan evaluasi’: diperlukan analisa situasi besaran masalah kurang gizi mikro secara berkala.
Biofortification of INPARI IR Nutri Zinc is one of the research activity models to produce intentions and innovations for the national interest. Research activities are carried out to produce intentions and innovations in the framework of national interests that can be run and applied directly. Support from the government to maximize the benefits of these varieties has started from 2020 through a multi-sector approach. In its implementation, several obstacles are faced, such as the rice taste is not accepted by some rice consumers in Indonesia, which is felt like silver rice in Java. Then, there is the need for a specialized supply chain to reach the right target communities. Furthermore, zinc content varies from region to region, making setting a specific cut-off point difficult.
Biofortification will continue with the creation of new varieties to improve the Inpari IR Nutri Zinc paddy rice variety to produce fluffier rice, large grains, and disease resistance. Biofortification is one of BRIN's research priorities, ranging from conventional to advanced techniques such as genome editing, transcriptomic studies, and collaboration of biofortification breeders (sharing strains, local varieties, facilities) and Harvest Plus.
Some of the mindsets required in the biofortification approach include:
- Healthy, nutritious food is beneficial for all
- Improvement of staple food nutrition (biofortification) will increase the nutritional status of the community, and it needs to be maintained sustainably.
- Biofortified food is people's food
- In certain conditions, it is necessary to prioritize target efforts
To succeed the national biofortification program, synergy is needed from multi-sectors and programs ranging from the Ministry of Agriculture, BKKBN, central/regional food security, Ministry of Health, Education Office, etc. With research, invention, and innovation that integrates with stakeholders, the application of the technology produced will be massive to make maximum use of the technology.