By Chikondi Manjawira
Malawi still faces malnutrition which is affecting citizenry well-being impacting the country’s social economic development, the study has revealed.
The findings of the 2015-2016 Malawi Micronutrient Survey indicates that more than fifth of the population.
Malawi is said to be anaemic and zinc deficiency continues to be a challenge with zinc high deficiency levels at 60-66% among all population groups.
However, Vitamin A deficiency is considered to be well managed by current interventions including sugar, oil and flour fortification.
The same applies to Iodine deficiency which is managed but still need to continue maintaining high compliance level of Iodine in salt. Currently compliance is at 80% compared to optimal >90% at household level.
Recently, Ministry of Trade and Industry, National Fortification Alliance and Consumers Association of Malawi (CAMA) briefed the media orientation on mandatory food fortification in Malawi
Government selected five vehicles for mandatory fortification which include, Maize Flour-MS 34, Wheat Flour-MS 30, Refined Sugar-MS 202, Raw Sugar-MS 209, Edible Oils-MS 52 and Edible Salt-MS 188.
As such producers and traders are obliged to fortify, package and clearly label ingredients on their products so that the consumer make informed decision on what to pick whenever visits both the local and super markets.
Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism Industrial Development Officer, Mayeso Msokera said government is currently implementing a comprehensive program on food fortification as part of the various intervention strategies to solve the micronutrient deficiency problem.
Msokera added that it is a clear signal that government intends to make fortified foods widely available to the citizens.
“The Ministry decided to organise this awareness workshop with the media as key stakeholders in the fortification program to share with the media more information of about fortification, discuss existing monitoring activities that are being carried out to ensure safety and adequacy of the fortification program among identified food vehicles and to discuss on ways in which the media houses can contribute towards creating awareness and enhancing compliance of the products under the fortification legislation,” said Msokera
Consumer Association of Malawi Executive Director John Kapito therefore urged media to regularly visit the markets and report more on the sub standards products that continue to appear on the markets if they find any for the well-being of the consumers.
“We have a lot of substandard products that are not supposed to be sold at the market which dangerous and which is in conflict with some of the laws in Malawi.
‘We are trying to make sure that those products are completely removed from these markets and that also the city councils are playing a part to make sure that we clean up our markets so that people only demand for fortified products and only able to pick such products,” said Kapito.
There is laxity because most non fortified products are still entering into the country