OTTAWA, November 5, 2013 – “Nourishing India, growing its economy” was the theme of a reception hosted by Senator Asha Seth and MP Patrick Brown on behalf of the Micronutrient Initiative (MI) and the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber (ICOBC). The event highlighted the severe problem of malnourishment faced by many developing countries despite booming economic development.

“As a physician I can tell you that deficiencies in micronutrients like iodine, iron, folic acid, and vitamin A can be catastrophic to the development of a child during pregnancy and it can seriously compromise both brain development and cognitive performance […] A malnourished child will earn twenty percent less than their nourished peer, costing the global economy more than one hundred billion dollars a year. A deficiency in vital nutrients can bring an entire country to a halt,” remarked Senator Asha Seth. Other speakers included MI President Mr. Venkatesh Mannar and ICOBC President Mr. Jack Uppal.

The Micronutrient Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of individuals suffering from the physical and intellectual deficiencies caused by chronic malnutrition, a problem known as “hidden hunger.” Unlike the hunger that comes from lack of food, hidden hunger is a chronic lack of vitamins and minerals essential to development, productivity, and overall health. In countries like India this crisis is exacerbated among vulnerable groups such as children under five and pregnant women; affecting more than fifty percent of the population.

The government of Canada has taken steps to assist its partners by supporting the development of cost-effective mechanisms for the delivery of micronutrients. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Chris Alexander, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation, Lois Brown, spoke of Canada’s leadership role in supplying micronutrients to vulnerable populations around the world.

With the support of Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development, The Micronutrient Initiative has distributed more than five billion Vitamin A capsules to children in developing countries since 1999, contributing to lowering child mortality rates, and saving the lives of an estimated three to five million children.

To learn more about the Micronutrient Initiative please visit:

To learn more about the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber visit:


For more information, please contact:

Senator Asha Seth’s Office

(613) 797-1176