Partnership for Sustainable Food Fortification in West Africa (Fortify West Africa)

Goal:

Ensure continuous access to fortified cooking oil and wheat flour for at least 70% of the population of West Africa

Life of Project:

January 2011-June 2014

Total USAID/West Africa Funding:

2,100,000 USD

Geographic Scope:

Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

Implementing Partner:

Helen Keller International

Project Description:

Micronutrient deficiencies are responsible for widespread health and economic consequences, including maternal mortality, child mortality, stunting, blindness, chronic anemia, and reduced capacity to work. West Africa is challenged with pervasive severe and chronic malnutrition and pervasive micronutrient deficiency.

To address these challenges on a regional scale, USAID/West Africa’s Health and Agriculture offices support Helen Keller International to implement the Partnership for Sustainable Food Fortification in West Africa (Fortify West Africa).  Fortify West Africa works to harmonize fortification policies and standards, and encourage private sector adoption of fortification in order to reach the most vulnerable mothers and children with vital micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron, folic acid, and B vitamins. Integral to this program is a broad range of stakeholders responsible for program implementation and success, including: member states of both the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the West African Regional Economic Community (ECOWAS), milling and cooking oil industries, and private companies producing micronutrients for fortification.

Program Components:

• Harmonizing standards between UEMOA and ECOWAS states to encourage intra-regional trade.
• Advocating to ECOWAS and UEMOA states to mandate fortification of locally produced and imported cooking oil and wheat flour.
• Promoting the Enrichi logo on fortified foods to certify these foods for trade and for the consumer.
• Training officials on monitoring and quality control using testing (called “I-checks”) at manufacturing and market levels.

Results:

• Ten of 15 and 11 of 15 ECOWAS countries have mandatory legislation for fortifying cooking oil and wheat flour, respectively.
• An estimated 98 percent of the total population of ECOWAS has access to micronutrient-fortified wheat flour and 72 percent has access to vitamin A-fortified vegetable oil.
• The Enrichi logo is a successful example of branding to build consumer awareness and promote fortified foods in West Africa.

Last updated: April 04, 2014

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