GLOBAL Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has embarked on persuading colleges and universities to make nutritional mixing machines locally in a bid to up food fortification.
At the moment, GAIN plans to persuade Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (DIT) and the University of Dar es Salaam’s College of Engineering and Technology (CoET) to start producing the much-needed machines locally.
GAIN Project Manager, Food Fortification Programme Mr Archard Ngemela said the idea was to enable even micro, small and medium millers to afford buying the nutritional mixing machine, thus upping the number of food products blended with required nourishment.
“The costs of the machines are high; hence, barring many traders from accessing them. So by making them locally, we believe we will cut down costs,” Mr Ngemela said during a seminar for women journalists in celebration of International Women’s Day over the weekend.
GAIN said imported machine are costing between 1.0m/- and 5.0m/- depending on the size. This price barred many micro, small and medium millers from acquiring them thus back pedalling efforts to increase food fortification in the country.
GAIN report showed that despite the significant progress made by Dar es Salaam in addressing all forms of malnutrition among children under five over the last decade, the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in the country is still categorised as “very high”, with stunting at 32 per cent.
Also, the number of obesity in women has gone up to 11 per cent in 2016 from 5.0 per cent in 2000. Mr Ngemela said most of the large industries are mixing nutrients when grinding the grains to enable the community to get a complete diet.
But the problem was still on micro, small and medium milling and oil extracting firms which find it difficult to invest on machines that enable food fortification.
Mr Ngemela said his organisation is aiming at supporting and advising the government, businesses, and development partners in building and mobilising food and nutrition plans to advance nutrition.
Commercial manufacturers in food production have the responsibility to ensure that nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D for body building are included in the diet.
GAIN has started providing education and equipment to Kagera and Tanga regions to help reducing the problem and will continue providing in other regions in collaboration with the government.
GAIN is working with the Prime Minister’s Office, President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government) Tanzania Food Nutrition Centre (TFNC), Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), regional secretariats and regional nutrition committees to ensure the exercise reaches the targeted audience and to reduce the problem of open back and the birth of children with large heads