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Upcoming high-level summit to discuss milestones on food fortification

Bags of maize at the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) warehouse in Nakuru on March 15, 2021. [Kipsang Joseph,Standard]

The second Kenya Food Fortification Summit will be held on June 29-30, 2021 where stakeholders will take stock and engage on milestones gained from the first summit held in 2018.

The summit themed ‘Creating an Enabling Environment for Food Fortification in Kenya’ endeavours to assess progress made compared to challenges that were highlighted in the 2018 summit.

The summit organised by the Ministry of Health, European Union, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Nutrition International will attract participants drawn from government, research institutions, development partners, millers, civil society Organisations and private sector.

Childhood malnutrition

According to the JKUAT EU-Funded Food Fortification Project Coordinator, Prof Daniel Sila significant progress has been made in Kenya in terms of achievement of some of the World Health Assembly 2025 targets including reducing childhood stunting.

“Staple food fortification has demonstrably increased the availability of micronutrients essential to health and development in the diets of people across the globe,” said Prof Sila adding that the summit hopes to increase the uptake of fortification roles in counties.

The two-day summit will also see the launch of food fortification products, progress report, awarding of best performing industries in food fortification and call to action.

Prof Sila said the summit provides an opportunity to also have an engagement with government, donors, CSOs, and private sectors to secure a fortification commitment at the United Nation Food System Summit (FSS) and the Nutrition Growth Summit (N4G) to be held in September and December this year respectively.

The FSS and N4G seek to increase support for staple food fortification and to secure new pledges and commitments from governments, donors, and the private sector to mandate, support, and market quality fortified foods.

The European Union has funded Kenya’s efforts to fortify staple foods and improve the health and nutritional status of the poor and vulnerable groups to a tune of Sh350 million.

The Programme has established a food fortification reference laboratory at JKUAT to improve local capacity to monitor and evaluate the level of compliance of different fortified food products to the national standards.

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