October 02, 2014

02/10/2014: Working towards greater rice fortification

A series of workshops running over three-and-a-half days took place in the
Hilton Millennium Bangkok, Thailand, from September 16-19, 2014 to address the practical and technical issues arising from the wider uptake of rice fortification.


The workshops were organised by The Food Fortification Initiative, PATH, World Food Programme, Micronutrient Initiative, Unicef and the Global alliance for Improved Nutrition.

From a regulatory, public health and nutrition point of view, rice fortification is similar to wheat and maize flour fortification, both of which are implemented globally on a large scale.

Therefore, fortification levels established for wheat and maize are providing a starting point to establish micronutrient levels for rice fortification. In addition, the experience and knowledge gained through the scale up of flour fortification provides important lessons learned to inform the scale up of rice fortification.

From an implementation and technical perspective, rice differs from wheat and maize fortification. During the past decade, technologies to fortify rice, such as coating and extrusion have evolved significantly. As a result, the technological challenges related to changes in taste and colour, but also resulting from longer cooking times and washing processes, once barriers to successful implementation of rice fortification programmes, have been overcome.

The evolution of cost-efficient technologies combined with research on effective nutrient fortification levels makes rice fortification a feasible solution to reduce micronutrient deficiencies across large segments of the population.

The number of countries introducing rice fortification is growing, with Asia and Latin American countries spearheading the efforts. The strategic timing of this workshop is not a coincidence.

The organising organisations have come together to build on the current momentum to scale up rice fortification. The workshop brought together technical experts, government technical decision makers and private sector and donor representatives to review the current status and way forward for rice fortification. This workshop is intended to provide a platform for stakeholders to discuss the evidence, share experiences, identify strategic approaches to overcome bottlenecks, and establish a network of experienced and knowledgeable supporters of rice fortification.

Objectives of the ‘Scaling Up Rice Fortification in Asia’ workshop were as follows:
To share up-to-date global and regional evidence and operational experience
To facilitate cross country exchange between countries at differing implementation stages of rice fortification, and
Create a network for continued learning and knowledge exchange in support of national efforts to scale up rice fortification.

More specifically the workshop included discussions on the national, regional and global evidence base and current status of rice fortification in Asia and globally, fortification technology and methods, components of the rice value chain, delivery options, standard setting, aspects of policy and legal environment, and lessons learned from salt and wheat flour fortification.

Through these discussions, country delegations had the opportunity to identify general, regional and country specific factors that enable or hinder the scale up of rice fortification. Strategies to overcome bottlenecks and leverage enabling factors were identified and discussed. Finally, participants identified practical next steps in the process to expand and scale up rice fortification programmes.

Read more HERE.

The Global Miller
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which is published by Perendale Publishers Limited.

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