By Adama Tine
Abdul Aziz Cessay, Coordinator of the National Alliance for Food Fortification (NAFF) has disclosed that they are piloting the rice fortification for consumers in The Gambia.
“The NAFF have achieved some food fortifications in the Gambia which includes fortification of salt and flour and we are piloting the rice fortification with the help of World Food Programme (WFP) office in the Gambia,” he said.
He made the above statement during a quarterly meeting organized by NAFF on Wednesday at Metzy hotel in Kotu.
Mr. Cessay, who also doubles as the Programme Manager at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA), said the NAFF is a national platform set up by the Food Fortification and Bio Fortification Project.
He added that it is also a platform where government and the private sector will benefit from, saying it will bring together public and private partnership as far as food fortification is concerned, to discuss policy issues regarding food security and nutrition as well as food fortification in the Gambia.
Ceesay described the project as an important one, as they will discuss some of the important issues to improve on the nutritional and health status of people in the country. He stated that research has shown that there is a high level of mal-nutrition and micro- deficiency in the Gambia. In this respect, he said the Gambia did not reach the level to bring the mal-nutrition down.
He urged the private sector (who are selling or fortifying the food vehicles) to take ownership of the project as they play a critical role as far as food fortification is concerned.
Halimatou Bah, National Nutrition Officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said “Food fortification is one of the most cost-effective strategies in addressing micro-nutrient deficiencies because we are targeting foods that are usually consumed by the population, fortifying them with micro-nutrients.”
“We expect by the end of the project we would address micro-nutrient deficiencies such as iron deficiency, anemia, iodine disorders, and vitamin A deficiencies. We are expecting to have a sustainability plan because the project is already phasing out, so we would expect to have a plan in place for sustainability of the gains that are already registered,” she added.
Malang N. Fofana, Deputy Executive Director at NaNA, said the NAFF is an important platform for food fortification in The Gambia, and encouraged all members of the NAFF to ensure that it will not die after the project.
“We have to sacrifice and show commitments to make sure NAFF survives and plays its role in fortification in The Gambia,” he urged.