Skip to main content

WFP to launch study quantifying economic and social benefits of rice fortification in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), in partnership with the Nutrition Improvement Department of the Ministry of Planning and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), is undertaking a socio-economic impact analysis on the introduction of fortified rice among the general population in Cambodia.

Food fortification is the addition of important micronutrients to foods to enhance its nutritional value safely and cost-effectively. While the fortification of salt, fish sauce and soy sauce with iodine and/or folate has been practiced for many years and is well-accepted in Cambodia, rice fortification at large scale is still relatively new in the country.

The analysis, to begin early next year, will help the government take stock of the benefits of investing in locally produced fortified rice and evaluate the impact of reducing micronutrient deficiencies among the population. These may include reductions in health care costs, improved health and nutrition outcomes, enhanced educational capacity, improved worker productivity, and other gains that benefit human capital and economic development.

“This study is an important step forward to support the national agenda on food fortification and respond to recommendations from the 2021 Food Systems Dialogues to strengthen advocacy around food fortification nationally,” said H.E. Sok So Yon, Under Secretary of State of the Ministry of Planning and Chair of the National Sub-Committee for Food Fortification (NSCFF).

WFP was this week joined by a team of scholars from Virginia Tech to meet with government, private sector, consumers and producers to co-create a framework for the final analysis.

As part of the visit, WFP co-organized a workshop with the Ministry of Planning on 27 October, bringing together the main NSCFF stakeholders and development agencies to discuss priorities and identify key questions the Royal Government of Cambodia wishes the analysis to address to further the fortification agenda nationally.

“Fortified rice offers a significant opportunity to improve the nutrition of vulnerable populations across the country in an efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Claire Conan, WFP Representative and Country Director.

For over a decade, WFP has been a leading partner to the government on rice fortification and has provided fortified rice to hundreds of thousands of schoolchildren through the school feeding programme.

“Fortified rice has been critical in maximizing the nutritional value of school meals with minimal added cost, which has played a role in improving the learning capacity and health of students,” Conan added.

WFP is currently working with the Royal Government of Cambodia to identify opportunities for introducing fortified rice to the broader population in partnership with the government and the private sector to enhance health and nutrition at scale and boost economic development. The forthcoming study will be a critical step in advancing this agenda at the national level. 


#                 #                   #



The United Nations World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.



Follow us on Twitter @WFP_AsiaPacific