What is the solution to India's malnutrition problem? Just a one per cent increase in the protein content of potatoes. Or so believes a group of scientists at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. With the help of a gene extracted from amaranth, these scientists have developed a variety of genetically modified potatoes that has a 2.8 per cent protein content, as opposed to the 1.98 per cent generally found in potatoes. Speculation is now rife that India is likely to approve commercial cultivation of this protein-rich potato, and that the Union government may even put it on the menu of the free mid-day meal scheme for schools.
However, detractors are cautious. "Pulses contain 20-24 per cent protein. It would make more sense if they were promoted for tackling malnutrition," opines Devinder Sharma, food and trade policy analyst at the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology.
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