Biofortification is the process of increasing nutritional value of food crops by increasing the density of vitamins and minerals in a crop through either conventional plant breeding; agronomic practices or biotechnology.
Examples of these vitamins and minerals that can be increased through biofortification include provitamin A Carotenoids, zinc and iron.
There are three ways to breed a biofortified crop
Conventional crop breeding techniques are used to identify varieties with particularly high concentration of desired nutrients. Two parents with desirable traits such as virus resistance, drought tolerance, or high yield from the target growing region to develop biofortified child varieties that have high levels of micronutrients (for example, vitamin A, iron or zinc), in addition to other traits desired by farmers and consumers. This is the most common approach in use in Africa and is the approach that has led to the successful Vitamin A rich orange-fleshed sweetpotato.
Agronomic biofortification entails application of minerals such as zinc or iron as foliar or soil applications, drawing on plant management, soil factors, and plant characteristics to get enhanced content of key micronutrients into the edible portion of the plant.
Biotechology is the process of inserting the specific genes responsible for a desired micronutrient from one variety into the DNA of another variety lacking any of the desired micronutrient.