Transforming Afghanistan’s future through food fortification

Afghanistan has taken a major step towards improving nutrition for its people by holding the nation’s first-ever Food Fortification Summit to promote the fortification of flour and cooking oil with essential micronutrients.  The high-level meeting was attended by President Ghani’s Special Representative on Reforms and Good Governance, Mr. Ahmad Zia Massoud and several  government and senior representatives from the food sector. Nutrition and technical experts also joined the deliberations to move the fortification agenda forward.

Micronutrient malnutrition is a major health problem in Afghanistan, which is having serious negative impacts on the lives of its people and the economic development of the country, due to lowered productivity and high prevalence of diseases.

Adding essential vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods is proved to improve people’s health and wellbeing, and has the potential to increase the nation’s wealth. An analysis conducted by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) looked at the cost-benefit of just one intervention, wheat flour fortification, in addressing micronutrient malnutrition.  For every dollar invested in fortification in Afghanistan, ten additional dollars will be generated for the country. Additionally, the analysis found that these investment costs can be easily covered and sustained by the market.

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“Simple, cost effective strategies with high impact on population health and national economic progress must be a priority for both government and donors,” said Dr. Mohibullah Wahdati, GAIN Country Director, Afghanistan. “This summit was organized jointly by the private and public sectors together with development partners, all of whom recognize the importance of working together to improve nutrition through food fortification.”

Learn more about our Food Fortification Program 

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Published 22 December 2016