Crown Flour Mills establishes vitamin premix facility, eyes 90% food fortification compliance

NIGERIA – Crown Flour Mills, Nigerian subsidiary of multinational food and agribusiness company Olam International has established a state-of-the-art vitamin premix facility to steer its food fortification efforts.

A first of its kind by any flour miller in the West African country, the complex was established with technical support from the international non-profit organization Technoserve, under its Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods programme.

According to Crown Flour Mills the facility will enable it to attain the 90% food fortification compliance target, aimed to provide Nigerians with wide access to nutritious products.

This was revealed by Ashish Pande, Managing Director of the company at the 3rd annual Nigeria Food Processing and Leadership Forum.

“The goal is to prepare vitamin premix according to the regulatory requirement of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and supply Crown Flour plants with high quality and food-safe vitamin premix. This is the first-ever by any flour miller in Nigeria,” Pande said.

The milling company, doubled its production capacity last year after the acquisition of Dangote’s five flour mills for US$331m, a deal that gives Olam economies of scale to operate in the sector.

“Improving the food fortification levels of staple foods is one agenda that we are utterly committed to at Olam Grains. Sustainability is one of the key enablers of our operational strategy.

“It is at the heart of our business’s drive to reimagine global agriculture and food systems. Providing access to nutrition which enables Nigerians to live healthy and productive lives, therefore, sits at the core of our purpose as a business,” he said.

“The goal is to prepare vitamin premix according to the regulatory requirement of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and supply Crown Flour plants with high quality and food-safe vitamin premix.”

Managing Director Crown Flour Mills – Ashish Pande

Nigeria makes remarkable progress in availing fortified staple foods to consumers

According to data presented by Technoserve at the gathering of the top players in Nigeria’s food industry, from 2017 to 2020, the population reached with wheat flour fortified with iron and folic acid increased from 54 per cent to 92 per cent in the country.

In addition, the population reached with sugar fortified with Vitamin A increased from 31 per cent to 96 per cent; and salt iodization levels were maintained at 95 percent.

However, edible oil fortified with Vitamin A also made progress but to a lesser degree, with the population reached with fortified cooking oil increasing from 25 percent to 32 percent.

One reason for the slower progress is that the edible oil industry is less centralized than other staple foods, requiring coordination across more stakeholders.

To this end, TechnoServe pledged to provide further technical assistance to oil millers who want to participate in the multi-stakeholder effort.

In addition, Techno Serve will support relevant government agencies to improve its efforts on regular testing of imported edible oil at the ports of entry.

All participants at the forum stressed their commitment to meeting and scaling the grand target to ensure that the over 180 million Nigerian population can access fortified foods that will aid their physical and mental development.

Going forward, a sustainability framework aimed at enforcing compliance through strict regulation and monitoring has been set up.

These include industry-led self-regulation through the Micronutrient Fortification Index (MFI), Joint Regulatory Framework (JRF), and Governance and Accountability Strategy (GAS).

As a parting shot Larry Umunna, Technoserve’s West Africa regional director said, “If Nigeria is really serious about creating jobs, expanding its markets and growing its economy, nutrition and food systems should be put in the centre of the conversation.”

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