The international non-profit development organization TechnoServe has launched a program that aims to widen the variety of fortified foods.
TechnoServe, with the support of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has launched the Technical Assistance Accelerator Program (TAAP) which aims at increasing the level and variety of fortified foods by working with stakeholders to increase compliance.
TAPP will provide technical assistance and advocate for high-quality inputs to, among others, large and small-scale millers; actions are aimed at motivating these stakeholders to comply with national fortification regulations.
TechnoServe says that TAAP comes at a time when supply chain disruptions and high food prices are changing consumption habits and therefore making it necessary to align fortification efforts to ensure access to nutrition by the consumers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict have disrupted supply chains, upending the global trade of agricultural goods, while three consecutive years of drought in East Africa has resulted in growing levels of food scarcity and hunger. Mounting increases in the price of food staples has also forced households to alter their diets, likely impacting their consumption of essential nutrients. The prospect of lower calorie intakes increases the importance of fortifying staple foods such as maize flour, rice and edible oil,” says Dominic Schofield, TAAP Global Program Director.
TAAP also comes on the success of the Strengthening African Processors on Fortified Foods (SAPFF) program launched in 2017 which worked towards increasing food fortification compliance levels in two staples in Kenya- wheat and Maize flour.
TAAP will work with various stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), Cereal Millers Association (CMA), Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), United Grain Millers Association (UGMA), leading oil processors, flour and rice milling companies, premix suppliers, development partners and academic institutions.
Food fortification has been widely identified as a cost-effective strategy for addressing micronutrient malnutrition at scale.
In Kenya, more than one in four children under the age of five is stunted, with poor nutrition a prime factor in nearly a third of deaths of children under five. Malnutrition also contributes to poor growth and physiological deficiencies in children, birth defects, high rates of disability and illness, and overall lower productivity, which can reduce countries’ GDPs