Daily Management Review

Will fortified flour stop malnutrition in Ethiopia?


USAID in partnership with TechnoServe and the African Alliance for Food Processing, hope to bring the era of malnutrition to an end in Ethiopia.

Will fortified flour stop malnutrition in Ethiopia?
Ethiopia has long been the sad poster-child of malnutrition. If all goes smoothly according to plan however, that picture will undergo a dramatic change for the better. For the first time in history, local producers will commence fortifying wheat flour with the much needed minerals and vitamins required for children to grow into healthy adults.

This was made possible thanks to a public-private partnership thanks to a variety of companies, ranging from Mills, MNCs, NGOs, Government Agencies to Universities coming and working together for a common cause – the elimination of hunger. 

The participants in this multilateral joint effort for the elimination of hunger were TechnoServe, Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) the US based Agency for International Development (AID), General Mills, Bühler, DSM, Cargill and ASTCO. Thanks to the sustained and combined effort of these organisations, today a process has been developed and technologies acquired to ensure the fortification of wheat flour in a safe, sustainable and effective way.

The success of this project is also thanks to the volunteers and experts who have extensively shared their technical and business know-how with their Ethiopian counterpart using not only industry standard communication tools such as skype and e-mail but also proprietary web platforms and on-site visits.

Experts and volunteers from Partners in Food Solutions (PFS) have collaborated with over 600 African food companies in order to create the necessary ground work, such as improvements in food safety processes, packaging technology, processes control mechanisms, marketing etc, so as to strengthen the entire chain of events starting from manufacturing to marketing. The end result is that this system provides for an affordable and sustainable mechanism for safe, nutritious food to reach the populace as well as sustain the crops of small farmers.

Jeff Dykstra, CEO and co-founder of PFS made a very insightful comment:
“The path to true food security in Africa isn’t simply more food aid. The only sustainable way to end hunger is to strengthen the food supply chain. That’s why we’re focused on working with small and growing food processors.” 

Food security and malnutrition are a recurring problem in Ethiopia. You realize the enormity and gravity of the problem when you see that out of every five children two are stunted due to malnutrition. And this is in spite of the fact that agriculture is the primary industrial activity in Ethiopia. Yet there are millions who survive oh just humanitarian aid. The availability of a fortified and nutritious wheat, which is a staple Ethiopian diet, is a huge step towards stemming the flow of hunger and malnutrition.

In order to sustain this effort, along with ASTCO, around 150 wheat processors are also in the process of being trained or are being individually assisted. USAID along with TechnoServe and the African Alliance for Food Processing helped make this dream possible.

17th March 2015 will see the fruition of this project with the launch of the fortified flour in Addis Ababa.