Making More Nutritious Foods For Afghans
Malnutrition rates in Afghanistan are among the worst in the world. Half of all children are stunted. WFP and its partners use tools such as the mid-upper arm circumference measure to assess malnutrition in children.
One of the reasons for the chronic malnutrition in Afghanistan is the monotonous diet of most poor people – most families eat bread and little else every day.
A new project in conjunction with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, and funded by the Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, will scale up the fortification of staple foods including vegetable oil and wheat flour.
WFP is working on the ground in Afghanistan with millers to add vitamins and minerals to the flour milled in country. The project also foresees advocacy for the creation of national food fortification standards to ensure that all food, whether imported or locally-produced, is fortified as appropriate.
Mill owner Haji Abdul Hamid believes that the demand for fortified flour will continue to grow in Afghanistan. “At the moment, people in the bazaar aren’t asking for fortified flour. But with the right marketing and publicity, people will understand that it is good for them.” The economic sustainability of the partnership depends upon the creation of commercial demand for fortified flour.
The potential reach of the project is vast: Afghans eat about 4 million tonnes of wheat flour every year.
A project launched in Kabul between WFP, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and the Afghan Ministry of Public Health aims to enrich wheat flour and vegetable oil with essential minerals and vitamins, potentially reaching millions of Afghans with more nutritious food.