One of the reasons for the chronic malnutrition in Afghanistan is the monotonous diet of most poor people – most families eat bread and little else every day.
A partnership between WFP, GAIN and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health will see essential vitamins and minerals added to staple foods including wheat flour and vegetable oil.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation (KBZF), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the World Food Programme (WFP) have launched a partnership that will reach approximately 15 million Afghans with nutritionally fortified wheat flour, vegetable oil and ghee. The partnership aims to reduce the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies among the general population and vulnerable groups such as children under five and women of reproductive age, through a project supporting the Government’s Nutrition Action Framework to address malnutrition.
The project will bring on board the largest vegetable oil producers and wheat flour millers exporting to or producing in Afghanistan while equipment and nutrient blends will be provided to industry along with training in quality assurance.
“The contributions of KBZF, GAIN and WFP are much appreciated - in these difficult times of recovery, the project will strengthen the health of our people and our economy,” said Dr. Suraya Dalil, the Minister of Public Health in Afghanistan.
“As the main donor to the project, we are excited to see local ownership across sectors and look forward to achieving the results and milestones we have set,” said Mr. Mohammed Haji Al Khoori, Executive Director of KBZF, an independent entity based in Abu Dhabi with the mission of delivering humanitarian aid and services to poor populations.
“Access to good nutrition is a human right that no individual should be denied. We are pleased to support this national initiative that will make a real difference in the everyday lives of millions by engaging multiple partners across different sectors,” said Marc Van Ameringen, Executive Director of GAIN. GAIN is providing financial support and technical expertise to produce the fortified foods, monitor their quality, create demand and develop technical guidelines for fortification.
Louis Imbleau, WFP Afghanistan Country Director and Representative added, “Chronic malnutrition, especially among women and children, is a terrible burden for the people of Afghanistan, both in terms of health and economic productivity. Micronutrient fortification is a cost-efficient intervention that can really help tackle this problem.” WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide, is the key agency supporting overall program implementation in Afghanistan.