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Staple Food Fortification: Opportunities, Challenges and Way Forward
Dec 22, 2020

Confederation of Indian Industry organised the 2nd Edition of the National Nutrition Conclave with the theme - Staple food fortification: Opportunities, challenges and way forward. This year’s digital conclave was  an opportunity for Government, Development   Agencies, Industries and related stakeholders to come together to deliberate on critical challenges and emerging opportunities, with a view to creating a roadmap for thoughtful action that will strengthen the ecosystem for nutrition especially in the context of the pandemic.

CII has worked closely on the three pillars of increasing awareness, advocacy and technical assistance. Together with several partners, CII co-ordinated and participated in consultations across several states, on the importance of food fortification as one of the effective vehicles to address hidden hunger. CII has attempted to bring the private sector, development agencies and regulatory bodies to converge on the significance of large-scale food fortification as one of the many initiatives to address under-nutrition and there has been significant progress, specifically in the areas of milk and edible oil fortification, as an outcome of these multi-faceted efforts. Fortification of staple foods is a safe, cost- effective, evidence-based strategy to ensure that everyone, including the most vulnerable, has access to essential micronutrients. FSSAI has now set standards for fortification of staples and oil has been the forerunner as a good vehicle for fortification. Over the year’s fortification has now proven to be an effective strategy to tackle malnutrition and a good approach to solve the problem.

In his opening remarks Mr Tarun Vij , Country Director , GAIN India said “Fortification of staple foods is a safe, cost- effective & evidence-based approach to ensure the access to essential micronutrients to everyone, including the most vulnerable group of the society. It is an effective strategy to tackle malnutrition and should be scaled up using multi stakeholder partnership.”

Ms Inoshi Sharma, Director SBCD, FSSAI shared that “Scaling staple food fortification is the need of the hour to address the nutritional needs of the citizens. The government is approaching the issue from both demand and supply end through consumer awareness and through producers , distributor and retailers by strengthening compliance towards mandatory fortification”

Additionally, Smt. Surya Kumari, IAS , Vice Chairman and Managing Director , Andhra Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited , Andhra Pradesh shared that “Open market availability of fortified rice will bring the change into the consumption pattern and help scaling the uptake. The demand and supply gap of fortified rice needs to meticulously  addressed and require the industry to participate in a big way along with state government”

Mr Ganesh Sundararaman, SBU Chief Executive (Staples, Snacks &Meals) , ITC Foods further added “Poshan Abhiyan , ICDS scheme should continuously be refreshed to act as vehicle for fortification and address the issue of malnutrition. Wheat and rice being mass consumption items in the country, the implementation of fortification needs to be addressed holistically right through the supply chain”.

This panel discussion focused on discussing on views of  government, industry, development partners to delve upon fortification and how it is an effective strategy to tackle malnutrition and get commitments for future with specific focus on wheat, rice and oil fortification. Considering the current situation, it is essential to build capacity and ensure adoption of food fortification within the public sector, ensure social marketing for fortified food and incorporate technological innovation targeting food fortification. The expert panellists from industry and government shared their experience on increasing access in open market, leveraging in MDM, ICDS and PDS, working on supply side and addressing consumer awareness and will discuss key challenges and way forward.

The session was attended by Food and Beverage industry officials, entrepreneurs, food and nutrition start-ups, Nutritionist, Food technologists, Members of Associations and professionals from academia and Industry amongst others.

22 December 2020

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