The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today announced the launch of a new aid partnership targeting millions of Afghans with more nutritious foods, as part of ongoing efforts to improve the level of vitamin and mineral deficiency in the Central Asian country.
With the collaboration of Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health, the Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, as well as WFP, the partnership is set to provide some 15 million Afghans with nutritionally-fortified wheat flour, vegetable oil and ghee – a clarified butter common in Central and South Asian cuisine – in order to help reduce the prevalence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies among the country’s more vulnerable groups, such as children under the age of five and women of reproductive age.
“Chronic malnutrition, especially among women and children, is a terrible burden for the people of Afghanistan, both in terms of health and economic productivity,” the WFP Afghanistan Country Director and Representative, Louis Imbleau, said in a news release. “Micronutrient fortification is a cost-efficient intervention that can really help tackle this problem.”
The partnership has recruited the largest vegetable oil producers and wheat flour millers exporting to or producing in Afghanistan, while equipment and nutrient blends will be provided to industry along with training for quality assurance.
WFP, the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting global hunger, is a key player in Afghanistan’s efforts against malnutrition and hunger. In January 2012, the agency contributed $3 million to a food voucher project which continues to function as a safety net against high food prices for Afghanistan’s urban poor.