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Roundup: Rwanda turns to fortified foods to end malnutrition



KIGALI, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- Rwanda has announced plans to start feeding more than a million most vulnerable people with fortified foods across the country, in a bid to eradicate malnutrition especially among children.
The campaign to produce foods with essential nutrients to fight malnutrition has been backed by the establishment of food fortification processing firm Africa Improved Foods (AIF) Rwanda, based at Kigali Special Economic Zone, in Gasabo district, Kigali City.
Fortification deals with the addition of micronutrients to improve nutritional quality of food supply that will assist human beings in enjoying optimal metabolism and normal growth.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Prosper Ndayiragije, the country director of AIF Rwanda said that the country is focusing on improving nutrition for all citizens through partnership with fortified food processing company.
"Our company produces fortified blended foods for the government of Rwanda and the World Food Program (WFP) to help address malnutrition and stunting in children. We are looking forward to improving the nutritional status of Rwandan population by manufacturing international quality fortified complementary foods for vulnerable groups," he said.
AIF factory in Rwanda is expected to produce 45,000 tonnes of fortified food annually, enough to help boost exports and prevent child malnutrition across country.
Latest statistics from the Rwanda ministry of Agriculture indicates that malnutrition rate in children dropped from 52 per cent in 2005 to 38 per cent in 2016.
Although there are many causes of anemia, inadequate intake of iron folate and vitamin A and B12 usually account for most causes of the disease.
In 2013, Rwanda launched the '1000 Days' national campaign to combat malnutrition with an aim of improving maternal and child health in the country.
According to Geraldine Mukeshimana, Rwanda minister of agriculture and animal resources, the country is keen to ensure that processed foods on the market are fortified with the right amount of micro-nutrients.
"Food fortification is considered to be one of the most cost-effective ways of addressing widespread deficiencies. Without the food and nutrients, malnutrition will remain a big burden to our country's population," she said.
Last year Rwanda announced plans to end malnutrition before global target of 2025.
The small central African nation has put more efforts in fighting hunger and malnutrition by setting up various initiatives like the 'One Cow Per Poor Family' program, One Cup of Milk per Child per day, school feeding program and the establishment of the national grain strategic reserve.
Food security and nutrition are considered key issues in the country's growth blueprint, the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II). Enditem

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