As well as offering technical support, the company is donating its product Ferrazone, which will be used to fortify the atta wheat flour and maize flour with bioavailable iron. Developed by AkzoNobel’s Functional Chemicals business, Ferrazone (sodium iron EDTA) is bioavailable even in inhibitory diets. Sodium iron EDTA is the type of iron recently recommended by an expert panel as the only suitable iron for fortification of atta flour.
“We are committed to being part of the solution to the global problem of iron deficiency, which is particularly prevalent in India,” said AkzoNobel’s Director of Sustainability, André Veneman. “We have launched several similar initiatives around the world and are pleased to be working with the WFP, who will run the program and have shown great dedication to the improvement of lives through better nutrition.”
Added WFP India Representative and Country Director, Mihoko Tamamura: “This project will enable vulnerable populations to access vital nutrients needed to address micronutrient malnutrition, especially iron deficiency anemia and related health issues. For long-term benefit, WFP will not only build the capacity of the community for better service delivery, but will also help raise awareness of the benefits of food fortification and the importance of better nutrition.”
According to estimates, iron deficiency affects half of the developing world’s infants, undermines the health of 500 million women of reproductive age and leads to more than 60,000 childbirth deaths globally a year.
Flour fortification can be an effective way to address the problem and Ferrazone is already being used in several fortification programs in the developing world, as well as being used in fortified foods in the developed world.
two-year project in India is expected to lead to the scaling up of flour fortification at chakki mills in other states, while large roller mill flour fortification is already getting underway in various parts of the country.