First Large-Scale Food Fortification Project launched in Afghanistan

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan with cooperation of the Khalifa Bin Zayed Alnahyan foundation (KBZF),  the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have launched for the first time the large –scale food fortification project in Afghanistan.

Based on this new program approximately 15 million Afghans will reach to the nutritionally fortified wheat flour, vegetable oil and ghee.

Speaking at joint press conference on Sunday, Dr. Suraya Dalil, Minister of Public Health informed mediamen about this new project in the country.

Pointing out to the importance of the program, the Minister of Public Health said the aim of this project is to reduce the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies among the general population and vulnerable groups such as children under five years old and women of reproductive age.

Dr. Dalil also informed on nutritional situation in Afghanistan, adding in Afghanistan, half of the children under 5 –year old suffer from mineral deficiency and as well as 70% of women suffer from iron deficiency and iodine, so we hope   that this program can help our compatriots in this regard.

The project will bring on board the largest vegetable oil producers and wheat flour millers exporting to or producing in Afghanistan while equipment and nutrient bends will be provide to industry along with training in quality assurance, the minister continued.

Meanwhile Mr. Mohammed Al Bastaki, Deputy Director of (KBZF, said, “ as the main donor to the project, we are excited to see local ownership across sectors and look forward to achieving the results and milestones we have set”.

Executive Director or GAIN, Marc Van Ameringen also spoke on the issue, saying access to good nutrition is a human right that no individual should be denied. We are pleased to support this national initiative that will make a real difference in the everyday lives of millions by engaging multiple partners across different sectors.

GAIN is providing financial support and technical expertise to produce fortified food monitor their quality, create, demand and develop technical guidelines for fortification, he said.

Likewise, WFP representative to Afghanistan, Louis Imbeau added “chronic malnutrition, especially among women and children in a terrible burden for the people of Afghanistan, both in terms of health and economic productivity.

Micronutrient fortification is cost-efficient interventions that can really help tackle this problem, WFP representative added.

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