NAIROBI, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's ministry of health and partners will set aside additional resources to promote food fortification as a means to eradicate micro-nutrients deficiency that is rampant in poor settings, officials said on Friday.
Peter Cherutich, the Head of Preventive and Promotive Health Services in the Ministry of Health, said that fortification of key staples like maize flour, rice and edible oils is key to tackle malnutrition and stunting in Kenya.
"We have prioritized promotion of nutritional status of the population through dietary diversification as part of the Big Four Agenda on food security," Cherutich said in a statement issued in Nairobi.
"The government has engaged other key stakeholders like millers and consumer rights groups to ensure that the fight against micro-nutrients deficiency is recognized as an urgent national priority," he added.
Kenya has fast-tracked implementation of a National Food Fortification Program launched in April last year to enhance the capacity of manufacturers to fortify maize flour and tackle malnutrition among poor households.
Cherutich said the project which is funded by multilateral lenders has revitalized action on micro-nutrient deficiencies and accompanying health challenges.
"As a country, we have made progress in fortification which has seen goiter incidences reduce from 35 percent two decades ago to the current 6 percent," said Cherutich.
He disclosed that donors have injected 3.5 million U.S. dollars to boost Kenya's efforts to tackle malnutrition and stunting through fortification of staples consumed by poor households.
The government has enacted a law in 2012 that requires manufactures to fortify key staples like maize and wheat flour, table salt, vegetable fats and oils with vitamins and minerals.
Samuel Ochieng, the CEO of Consumer Information Network, said that Kenya should borrow international best practices to promote fortification of key staples and achieve the UN 2030 goal on food and nutrition security.
"Food fortification should be accorded the attention it deserves since it has long-term implication on the country's economic development agenda," said Ochieng.