India's rice fortification journey inspires Nigerian delegation
NEW DELHI: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) facilitated a crucial learning visit for a high-level Nigerian delegation to India. India’s rice fortification journey inspired the delegation of government officials from ministries, health, food security and education departments, food regulatory bodies, and the private sector to advocate for mandatory integration of fortified rice in Nigeria's food-based social safety networks.
This is one of the many delegations on fortified rice that the Government of India has hosted in partnership with WFP.
“This visit provided insights into India’s rice fortification. India's approach involves strong government leadership that supports public delivery systems such as the Targeted Public Distribution System and other welfare schemes,” said John Uruakpa, Director of the Federal Ministry of Health, Government of Nigeria, who led the delegation.
“It was a pleasure to host the Promoting Rice Fortification in Nigeria (PRiFN) South-South Learning Visit to India. WFP has been partnering with governments at national and state levels, providing technical support, developing pilots, and engaging in social behaviour change campaigns to mainstream fortification in national programmes,” said Elisabeth Faure, Representative and Country Director for WFP in India. “We are confident that the learnings will be adapted to the Nigerian context with support from government, agencies, and companies in India.
In September, the delegation visited the Department of Food & Public Distribution in New Delhi to learn about fortified rice. They met India's Food Safety Standards Authority and travelled to Odisha to understand the implementation of rice fortification programmes.
India and Nigeria share significant common ground in experiences with rice fortification. Both countries have strong social safety networks, produce high-quality rice, and have a high burden of malnutrition, especially anaemia in women of reproductive age, children, and breastfeeding mothers.
The Nigerian government is working on a national strategy to tackle micronutrient deficiencies. In line with this strategy, the government has authorised the fortification of rice, one of the primary staple foods of the country, as a part of the national fortification programme.
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