The World Food Program (WFP), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and New Nigeria Foundation has called on the government to develop guidelines for rice fortification with micronutrients for improved nutrition globally.
Dr Corinne Ringholz, of Analytics and Science for Food & Nutrition, Nutrition Division, WFP, speaking on ‘Global Status of Rice Fortification,’ while siting salt and wheat flour fortification as illustrative success stories, disclosed that micronutrient deficiencies place a heavy burden on the health and economy of nations.
Globally, more than two billion people are affected by micronutrient deficiencies, or hidden hunger, rice fortification therefore offers a unique opportunity to substantially improve nutrition of a large number of people in many countries at a very low cost.
Hidden hunger/ malnutrition impacts socioeconomic development at household as well as national level, leading to maternal and child mortality, increased illness, mental retardation, and poor cognitive and physical development
Regional Rice Fortification Advisor (Asia & The Pacific) for WFP, Arvind Betigeri, while speaking on ‘Lessons, Challenges and Successes from Implementing and Supporting Rice Fortification in Asia: A deep dive in India and Bangladesh,’ noted that Half of the total undernourished people and over half of the people affected by food insecurity in the world live in Asia.
Betigeri explained that Since Asia is greatly dependent on rice as it is the basic staple that provides more than 70 per cent of energy intake, rice fortification becomes economically expedient.
He Highlighted strategic and technical guidance for scaling-up rice fortification around the world to include policy formation, development of strategic roadmap for scaling-up rice fortification, facilitation and creation of demand, strengthening of rice fortification supply chain, food safety and quality assurance, among others.