TANZANIA – The government of Tanzania has released the national bio-fortification guidelines to address malnutrition challenge in the country.
The guidelines, according to reports by Daily News Tz, will be disseminated by the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in collaboration with Nutrition International, providing stakeholders with guidance on managing their crop value chain activities.
They are intended for use by implementors in planning, management, production, processing, storage, marketing and utilization of biofortified products at all levels.
The MOA led the development of the guidelines with financial support and technical assistance from Nutrition International as part of the Enhancing Nutrition Services to Improve Maternal and Child Health (ENRICH) Project, funded by the Government of Canada.
ENRICH is led by World Vision, with support from consortium partners Nutrition International, Canadian Society for International Health, HarvestPlus and the University of Toronto.
“These guidelines will help stakeholders in food chain sector to produce nutritious foods that will improve nutrition in the community and enable us to achieve our target of ending malnutrition that’s caused by lack of minerals and vitamins.”Acting Regional Administrative Secretary – Mr.Beda Chamatata.
In Tanzania, 58% of children aged 6-59 months and 45% of women are anaemic, according to the Demographic, Health and Malaria Indicator Survey (2015/16).
Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan officially launched the guidelines in August and the national dissemination took place in Dar es Salaam on September 16.
Project-level disseminations was held in Shinyanga and Singida, two regions where the ENRICH project is being implemented. More disseminations are targeted to take place throughout the year.
“These guidelines will help stakeholders in food chain sector to produce nutritious foods that will improve nutrition in the community and enable us to achieve our target of ending malnutrition that’s caused by lack of minerals and vitamins,” said Acting Regional Administrative Secretary Mr.Beda Chamatata.
In 2016, the government initiated the National Food Fortification Programme targeting both industrial and household levels to enable many communities to benefit from the fortification intervention.
By 2019, nine biofortified seed varieties of three common staples i.e. beans, maize and sweet potatoes were developed by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres and introduced in Tanzania.
They were tested locally by CGIAR and local agricultural research institutes and approved by the government.
Studies have shown that deficiencies of iron, vitamin A and folate alone are estimated to cost Tanzania over US$518 million, around 2.65 percent of the country’s GDP.
Also, using findings from the DHS 2010 and other relevant sources of nutrition information for Tanzania, it is estimated that if the prevalence of iron deficiency anaemia can be reduced between 2014-2025, the economic productivity gains in adult women could be as high as US$382 million.
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