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US$ 0.8m Dutch support for rice fortification in BD

FE Report | March 22, 2018 00:00:00

Netherlands government has provided US$ 0.8 million to support a rice fortification scale-up programme in Bangladesh.

The money will be spent to scale up an initiative on rice fortification which is being implemented by WFP in collaboration with the Ministry of Food, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, and other partners, said a WFP release on Wednesday.

In 2017, the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs distributed fortified rice in 35 sub-districts covered under the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) programme.

This year, distribution of fortified rice is planned in 66 sub-districts, according to the release.

The Ministry of Food has agreed to integrate the distribution of fortified rice in two sub-districts under the government's new social safety net, known as the Food Friendly Programme.

More than 350,000 people across 107 sub-districts will benefit from the distribution of fortified rice.

"Through a rice fortification effectiveness study, we found that the consumption of fortified rice reduced anaemia by 4.8 per cent and zinc deficiency by 6.0 per cent among ultra-poor women," said Christa Räder, WFP Representative and Country Director in Bangladesh.

"We want to make fortified rice available in the market so that the entire population of Bangladesh can benefit from it," she added.

"Our ultimate goal is that fortified rice will be commercially available in the market. For this we need the government of Bangladesh to create the necessary enabling environment," said Jeroen Steeghs, chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh.

Fortified rice kernels look, taste and cook like ordinary rice but are enhanced with six essential vitamins and minerals: Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B12, Folic Acid, Iron and Zinc.

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