Background: Vitamin and mineral premix is one of the most significant recurring input costs for large-scale food fortification programs. A number of barriers exist to procuring adequate quality premix, including accessing suppliers, volatile prices for premix, lack of quality assurance and monitoring of delivered products, and lack of funds to purchase premix.
Objective: To develop and test a model to procure premix through a transparent and efficient process in which an adequate level of quality is guaranteed and a financial mechanism is in place to support countries or specific target groups when there are insufficient resources to cover the cost of premix.
Methods: Efforts focused on premixes used to fortify flour, such as wheat or maize (iron, zinc, B vitamins, and vitamin A), edible oils (vitamins A and D), and other food vehicles, such as fortified complementary foods, complementary food supplements, and condiments. A premix procurement model was set up with three distinct components: a certification process that establishes industry-wide standards and guidelines for premix, a procurement facility that makes premix more accessible to countries and private industry engaged in fortification, and a credit facility mechanism that helps projects finance premix purchases.
Results: After three years of operation, 15 premix suppliers and 29 micronutrient manufacturers have been certified, and more than US$23 million worth of premix that met quality standards has been supplied in 34 countries in Africa, Central and Southern Asia, and Eastern Europe, reaching an estimated 242 million consumers.
Conclusions: The Premix Facility demonstrated its effectiveness in ensuring access to high-quality premixes, therefore enabling the success of various fortification programs.