Rwanda Launches Fortified Foods Plant

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By Daniel Sabiiti

Prosper Ndayiragije, the country director of Africa Improved Foods-Rwanda says the firm that will produce and export fortified foods.

Numbers of stunted children in the region will soon reduce as a new firm that was launched yesterday that will be used in the production of fortified blended foods.

A new state of the art factory worth USD 45million run by Africa Improved Foods (AIF) Rwanda was launched yesterday. Rwanda 2010 Demographic and Health Survey statistics indicate that 38% of Rwandan children under age five have poor feeding and face stunting while 9 percent are underweight throughout the country.

The factory, located in Kigali Special Economic Zone also produces fortified blended foods for the Government of Rwanda and the World Food Programme (WFP) with the intention to help address malnutrition.

“With this state of the art facility, we have started producing nutritious products intended to address malnutrition among vulnerable population segments such as pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, older infants and young children more especially in the first 1,000 days of their lives,” said Prosper Ndayiragije, the country director of AIF- Rwanda.

Rwanda is expected to benefit largely from the new plant after government entered a deal with AIF to supply between 4000-5000tonnes of nutritious foods to the most vulnerable families (under the Ubudehe category 1) across the country through health centers.

This plan is intended to reach more than one million Rwandans this year but also create over 300 direct jobs and working with over 9,000 local farmers in the process.

Beyond Rwanda, the plant, which has the capacity of producing 45.000tonnes a year, will also distribute its products to Uganda and DR- Congo with plan to expand its market through the continent.

The complementary fortified flour for porridge comes in five different products, for children and mothers with some of the specialised fortified blended foods product already in circulation.

AIF Rwanda is a product of a joint venture of four international partners: Royal DSM, FMO,

DFID and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and its new international standard factory and Burler equipment expected to set new standards in the milling sector.

“We have the best machines that you cannot be found anywhere else on this continent. The special aspect about our plant is we guarantee highest quality of food nutrients in the production process using the extruder which retains all nutrients in Maize and Soya, said Mark Mugarura, the AIF Marketing Manager.

Through the “Gikuriro” programme, a USAID funded integrated nutrition project launched in May 2016, government and its partners has set aside a five year USD19million plan to reduce malnutrition in eight districts located in the northern, southern eastern and Kigali city, in 3193 villages targeting over 57.000 households with improved feeding, hygiene and build capacities of communities.

In 2013, Rwanda launched the ‘1000 days’ national campaign to combat malnutrition with an aim of improving maternal and child health in the country: It has been scientifically proven that the 1,000-day window has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and thrive.

A malnutrition study conducted last year by government, dubbed “Cost of Hunger Study in Rwanda: Child Under nutrition in Rwanda Implications for Achieving Vision 2020,” revealed that fighting underweight due to malnutrition costs the country Rwf65 million per year.

“The cost of malnutrition is borne mainly by the family with a 74 percent contribution to this burden. An effect on education includes 327,500 children repeating a class and 13 percent of this is associated with stunting. The cost of the nation on education is Rwf 2.4 billion,” reads the study.

Beside the social protection deal, the factory which has capacity of producing 45,000 tonnes of food annually.

Rwanda Minister of health, Dr. Diane Gashumba says that the largest part of poor feeding is as a result of poor hygiene and mindset issues among parents.

In the meantime, Rwanda registered achievements -for instance, in breastfeeding is at 87 percent and efforts in improving nutrition and figures dropped from 47 percent in 2010 to 38 percent in 2015, as a result of women upholding breast feeding, and increased community involvement in good feeding practices

The 2014-2015 research findings conducted between by Society for Family Health (SFH) Rwanda indicate that the Southern Province has the biggest numbers of stunted children with Nyamagabe district at 51.6 % followed by Huye district at 42.6%.

According to the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2015, the percentage of stunted children reduced from 44% in 2010 to 38% in 2015. The percentage of children wasted declined from 3 % in 2010 to 2% in 2015 while that of underweight children reduced from 11% in 2010 to 9% in 2015. The same survey indicated that only 18% of children aged 6-23 months receive minimum acceptable diet (Rwanda 2014-15).





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