Nigerian delegation in Odisha to study rice fortification ecosystem
The delegation will visit rice fortification sites to understand the process, machinery used, quality control measures and safety standards.
BHUBANESWAR: A high-level delegation from Nigeria has arrived on a three-day visit to Odisha to learn from the state’s experience on rice fortification ecosystem. The team comprising government officials from the ministries of health, food security and others facilitated by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) were apprised about the steps taken by the state government to address issues of malnutrition at a meeting chaired by development commissioner Anu Garg on Tuesday.
She said Odisha achieved complete introduction of fortified rice across the state in all food-based schemes a year ahead of the deadline set by Government of India. The state piloted the first rice fortification in 2012 in Gajapati district, and it is open to sharing its experiences and learning, especially towards addressing malnutrition and creating food security.
The Nigerian government is focusing on a national strategy to tackle micronutrient deficiencies. The government has authorised the fortification of rice, one of the primary staple foods of the country, as a part of the national fortification programme, said director of the Federal Ministry of Health, government of Nigeria, John Uruakpa. Uruakpa, who is the team leader, said, “This learning visit aims to provide first-hand experience and knowledge to the stakeholders, equipping them to efficiently kick-start a rice fortification pilot project in Kebbi state using the school feeding programme as a delivery mechanism.”
“We are very excited to host the Promoting Rice Fortification in Nigeria (PRiFN) South-South learning visit to India. The visit aims to learn from India’s implementation journey, challenges, lessons and also to identify how these learning can be adapted and implemented in the Nigerian context,” said country director for WFP in India Elisabeth Faure.
The delegation will visit rice fortification sites to understand the process, machinery used, quality control measures and safety standards. Members will also meet Indian food regulation officials to discuss regulatory aspects and compliance measures. They will also interact with policymakers designing and implementing the rice fortification programme.