Kenyan millers launch food fortification index to address malnutrition

Kenyan millers launch food fortification index to address malnutrition

Different cereal company representatives that piloted the Kenya Millers Fortification Index (KMFI).

The Cereal Millers Association (CMA) has launched a food fortification index in collaboration with the international non-profit TechnoServe to address malnutrition in Kenya.

Dubbed the Kenya Millers Fortification Index (KMFI), it aims to bolster local flour millers’ commitment to producing nutritious and sufficiently fortified food products, with the intention of scaling the initiative to include other staple foods.

The final scores on the index are based on a self-evaluation tool, industry insights provided by an independent expert group, and product quality testing assessing fortification and aflatoxin levels against national standards.

KMFI rankings are set to provide compliance ratings and showcase companies’ fortification compliance efforts, as well as support the effectiveness of regulators.

They are also expected to serve as the basis of an award scheme that recognises fortification compliance, incremental process improvements, and innovations in quality management.

CMA represents about 40 per cent of the total maize milling capacity and over 90 per cent of the wheat milling capacity in Kenya.

The index was unveiled on Wednesday at the inaugural Annual Kenya Food Processing and Nutrition Leadership Forum, bringing together stakeholders from the private sector, government, and civil society to highlight the role of millers in supporting nutrition and addressing shared challenges.

“We'd like to see the regulators get involved, we'd like the consumers to get involved and start demanding more nutritious food and I think these are the ways that we can really scale up fortification and the KMFI,” said CMA CEO Paloma Fernandes.

Large-scale food fortification entails a process of deliberately increasing the content of one or more micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals in widely consumed staple foods.

In 2005, the Kenya National Food Fortification Alliance was formed to spearhead the country's planning, implementation, and monitoring of fortification initiatives.

The alliance comprised members from the Ministry of Health, Kenya Bureau of Standards, research institutions, UN agencies, development partners, and umbrella bodies from the cereal millers, salt, and oil industries.

In 2012, fortification standards were set, and legislation was passed making it mandatory for the fortification of maize, wheat, and oil.

According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey (KDHS, 2022), the prevalence of stunting has reduced from 26% in 2014 to 18% in 2022, which can be attributed to food fortification efforts.


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