Putting Food Producers at the Forefront of Collective Efforts toward Providing Consumer Access to Nutritious Food in Nigeria
Top performing companies are now featured in first-ever Micronutrient Fortification Index (MFI)
LAGOS, Nigeria – On March 28th, 2023, at the Nigeria AgroFood Exhibition and Summit, TechnoServe and partners will once more recognize and award leading brands and companies that have remained committed to food fortification compliance. This hallmark celebration of the processors is made possible under the flagship of the MFI. At a time when the triple burden of global economic shocks– the impact of Covid-19 pandemic, the Russian-Ukraine crisis, and the impacts of climate change has raised the cost of nutritious food, making more people vulnerable to malnutrition, the role of these ‘unsung heroes’, the committed and resilient food producers cannot be overemphasised.
The index is a locally driven, industry-owned initiative to generate data and publicly share rankings of companies’ progress on fortifying their products with essential vitamins and minerals. The self-regulatory system provides consumers with information about the fortification of three staple foods: wheat flour, edible oil, and sugar, spurring companies to meet their national food fortification targets. The MFI solution is built around a framework that highlights the core elements of sustainability and a commitment to ensuring access to high-quality fortified foods, providing a holistic review of companies’ production, personnel, public engagement, procurement and governance. The index which piloted in 2019 with 4 companies now has 15 participating companies that account for 31 food brands in the edible oil, wheat flour and sugar industries.
The maiden top 5 ranking brands/companies were awarded and celebrated at the March 2022 CEO forum, a national nutrition leadership forum chaired by Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Bill Gates to review and renew commitments of top executives of leading staple food producers on food fortification initiatives.
This year, the award ceremony will take place on the 28th of March 2023 at the Landmark Centre, Lagos. The event will recognize all the participating companies while celebrating the next set of top 5 brands/companies.
According to the statement from Alhaji Dangote, the chairman of the Aliko Dangote Foundation at the 2022 CEO forum “the private sector remains the engine of growth for the Nigerian economy,” By creating a common set of compliance standards, while also giving companies the tools they need to effectively fortify their foods, we are creating a sustainable path to delivering Nigerians food that will help them live healthier, more productive lives. Better nutrition for our consumers means better health and economic development for our nation.”
The 2022 CEO Forum marked the inaugural presentation of participating companies that have served as industry pioneers and made significant strides towards institutionalising food fortification practices and commitments. This year, the 2nd annual award will equally elevate the MFI participating brands and companies to a wider set of stakeholders at the Nigeria AgroFood exhibition and summit, expanding the base of consumer awareness in adjacent sectors.
“The companies on the MFI are leading the charge for a better, more nutritious future for Nigeria,” said TechnoServe President and CEO William Warshauer. “They recognize the business value of making products that deliver great quality and nutrition to millions of consumers, as well as the social value of helping Nigeria’s next generations grow up strong and healthy.”
To quote the Hon. Minister of Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, “The Federal Ministry of Health remains committed to fighting malnutrition and seek to accomplish this by providing an enabling environment for all partnership,”.
“Large-scale food fortification is one of the most effective tools to ensure people get the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “As we look to support an equitable recovery from the pandemic, countries and communities will need to deploy proven solutions to promote cognitive development, school performance, productivity, and earning potential. Partners in the public and private sectors must work together to accelerate progress on fortification in the year ahead to realise the individual and collective benefits to health and development.”
According to the Country Program Manager, Miss Ayodele Tella, ‘’all participating companies demonstrate high business ethics and responsibility for putting themselves in the position to be scrutinised publicly and deserve an ovation for increasing the access to more nutritious foods for Nigerians’’.
Ultimately, the index creates a level playing field that incentives food processors to adhere to fortification and quality standards, encouraging institutionalisation of quality systems across board. It also serves to generate valuable industry insight on performance that enhances the enabling environment, while projecting the mark of quality to inform consumer purchasing decisions.
Founded in 1968, TechnoServe is a leader in harnessing the power of the private sector to help people lift themselves out of poverty for good. A non-profit organization working in 30 countries, we work with people to build a better future through regenerative farms, businesses, and markets that increase incomes. Our vision is a sustainable world where all people in low-income communities have the opportunity to prosper.