Dar es Salaam. The private sector has been urged to use business skills and opportunities they have to produce fortified food in order to eradicate stunting and malnutrition in the country.
Global Alliance for improved Nutrition (GAIN) country representative chief executive officer Enock Musiguzi made this remark at the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) business network meeting.
The theme of the meeting was “Mobilising private sector to make greater contribution towards nutrition goals brought by several stakeholders”.
Mr Musiguzi said the private sector can play a big role in the provision of the fortified food and create awareness on nutrition because they were the main suppliers of food items.
Estimates show that Tanzania still has more than 2.7 million children under five who are stunted.
More than 430,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition and 100,000 of them have been severely affected, which means their chances of surviving are slim if they do not receive appropriate treatment.
He noted that if consumption of fortified food would increase the demand of fortified products, something which cause malnutrition rates to go down in areas prone to micro nutrients.
Mr Musiguzi noted that industrial fortification alone cannot be the only technology to eliminate stunting and malnutrition.
He said there must be other options including household awareness programmes on the importance of eating nutritious food.
Organic Food Associates (OFA) representative Theonest Katunda said that for the past six months they have managed to distribute at least 100 tonnes of fortified maize flour in Dar es Salaam.
Mr Katunda noted that they expect to introduce a new product in the near future, which will contain 12 types of nutrients.
“Through the GAIN initiative, we are currently discussing with an American company that will help to assist us with technology in order to increase nutrition in maize flour,” he said.
Mr Katunda said since they were in a process of introducing a new product, they have started providing education to all households on the importance of consuming nutritious food.