Fortification of staple foods is a safe, low-cost, effective, and evidence-based public health intervention aimed at ensuring access to micronutrients to the general population including the most vulnerable.
During the COVID pandemic, we must protect and strengthen efforts in large-scale food fortification to ensure people are consuming enough nutrients for growth, development and proper health. We aim to support the availability of premix through hubs to stabilise supply and keep fortification programmes operational, ensure fortified foods reach the most vulnerable through social safety net programmes, while adjusting advocacy efforts to match the demands of the new COVID-19 context.
GAIN’s footprint in this workstream
- Establish national premix hubs or strengthen premix supply systems to keep food fortification operational in at least 3 key countries
- Strengthen or build linkages between private sector and public sector distribution schemes for high-quality, fortified foods through social safety net programmes in 2 key countries
- Provide technical assistance to governments and food processors based on need
- Advocate the importance of food fortification to governments, private sector, and other key stakeholders
Description of the workstream
Disruptions to food systems due to COVID-19 are adversely affecting the availability and access to fresh and nutritious foods as a result of farmers inability to produce or distribute. This is resulting in both increases in pricing and reduction in diversity of nutrient-rich foods on the market, which in turn is leading to an increase in consumption of non-perishable foods such as staples, which are a poor source of micronutrients, if not fortified.
Many people are likely to be thrown into poverty due to COVID-19’s effect on the economy and jobs, affecting the ability to purchase nutritious foods, especially for the poor. COVID-19 containment measures, such as lockdowns, are also disrupting international premix supply chains leading to delays in delivery of premix. This threatens to undermine food fortification.
In order to sustain and reinforce the benefits of large-scale food fortification, GAIN will be supporting the establishment of national premix hubs and strengthening local premix supply chains in at least 3 countries with the goal of stabilising supply and ensuring that fortification programmes remain operational. GAIN will also support efforts to build or strengthen fortification within social safety net programmes in 2 countries. The level of technical assistance to be provided includes grants for premix seed stock, expanding credit facilities, and fortification of staples/foods in social safety net programmes.
GAIN, in partnership with the Global Fortification Technical Advisory Group, is also pursuing advocacy efforts on food fortification, with adjustments for the COVID-19 context, to ensure sustained commitment to fortify.
Call to action
By establishing national premix hubs, advocating to sustain fortification programmes and integrating fortified foods in social safety net programmes, we can ensure people, especially the most vulnerable, are consuming essential vitamins and minerals required for healthy growth and functioning.
Facts and figures
- Disruption to food systems and incomes is limiting availability and access to fresh, nutritious perishable foods, resulting in increases in pricing, reduction in diversity of nutrients, and an increase in consumption of non-perishable foods which are a poor source of micronutrients
- Policy decisions and restrictions are impacting logistics and trade needed to maintain fortification.
- Monitoring of fortification standards has reduced, and some governments have reduced fortification requirements