PM stresses execution of nutrition upscale programme

DAR ES SALAAM: PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has demanded regions facing acute blood shortage and stunted growth among children aged five years and below, to implement nutritional upscale programme right form the village level.

He emphasised the need to enhance food processing and fortification so that more Tanzanians embrace and use in building a healthy nation. Elaborating, Mr Majaliwa declared that there was no need to import nutrient premixes from outside the country as they are now produced in the country.

He said this late on Saturday in Dar es Salaam during the launch of Nutrient Premix Blending Factory and Miller for Nutrition Initiative together with Tanzania Food Processors Website under SANKU Industries.

“There is no need to import premixes from outside the country as we now have the second premix blending plant in Africa and the first in the East Africa region that can cater for our needs. I urge industries in the country to be the first customers of the premixes produced by SANKU Industries,” said Mr Majaliwa.

Mr Majaliwa emphasised that the launch of the firm is part of a new strategy in the government’s efforts to enhance food processing and fortification to meet the nutritional needs of the population.

He added that the industry aims to combat malnutrition, anaemia and other nutrient deficiencies that affect many people in Tanzania.

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“The fortification efforts will continue to reduce the mortality rates of mothers giving birth and newborns due to anaemia-related issues,” Mr Majaliwa noted.

Speaking on the newly launched website for the network of all food processors, particularly those involved in flour and cooking oil production, the Premier explained that the network would provide education and enhance skills among food processors, leveraging expertise in food processing technology.

In attendance, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu presented alarming statistics, showing that approximately three out of ten children under the age of five in Tanzania are stunted due to poor nutrition.

“Additionally, 59 out of 100 children of that age group have anaemia, and 30 out of 100 children lack Vitamin A. Moreover, 20 per cent of women of reproductive age suffer from anaemia,” stated Minister Ummy.

Continuing to explain the effects of poor nutrition, Minister Ummy mentioned that three out of 100 children are born with hydrocephalus and spina bifida, placing Tanzania third after Algeria and Ethiopia for these conditions.

Minister Ummy also noted the significant progress in reducing child mortality rates under five years old, which have decreased from 147 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1999 to 43 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022.

Neonatal mortality rates have also declined from 40 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1999 to 24 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2022.

“These statistics highlight the importance of addressing nutrient deficiencies in our food. Proper nutrition has a profound impact on childbirth, the physical and mental growth of children, educational development and the overall economy,” said Minister Ummy.

Felix Brooks-Church, CoFounder and Chief Executive Officer of SANKU, highlighted the benefits of the Sanku Dosifier technology, which enables smallscale millers to provide fortified maize flour even to remote areas.

“This factory brings significant advantages for millers and the community. Millers will now have convenient access to high-quality premix at a 40 per cent reduced cost compared to the current market rate. Notably, 70 per cent of the packaging and raw materials used for blending, including the wheat carrier essential for nutrient premix, will be sourced from local millers,” said Mr Brooks-Church.

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He pointed out that many millers, especially Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), face challenges with fortification due to the availability of low-cost, low-quality premix that offers little health benefit. High-quality premix is often perceived as too expensive and is not purchased consistently.

“Our factory addresses these issues by alleviating supply chain challenges, making it easy for any miller to access affordable, highquality premix whenever needed,” Mr Brooks-Church explained.

He emphasised that the community will benefit through employment opportunities, technical skills transfer and access to nutritious food.

“This initiative aims to close the fortification gap across East Africa, ensuring millers to comply with standards and significantly improving the nutritional quality of their products,” he concluded.

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