Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Group, in collaboration with Bill Gates Foundation and the National Agency for Food & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) have said that food producers in Nigeria are working with government to achieve a compliance level of 90 per cent in food fortification by 2020.
Speaking at the second annual Nigeria Food Processing and Leadership Forum in Lagos, Dangote, who chaired the forum, said since the first meeting in July 2018, food producers had reached about 75 per cent compliance in food fortification.
“The target we have now given to ourselves is to reach about 90 per cent before we meet again sometime next year,” Dangote said at a press conference after the CEO roundtable meeting at the forum.
He noted that it had been very interesting, saying “I think going forward, we are very committed and what we have said to the other three regulatory agencies is to make sure that they don’t only focus on us the big ones, they should also make sure that the other smaller firms are complying to the standards.”
The forum was attended by Osagie Enahire, Minister of Health; Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Trade and Investment, and the heads NAFDAC, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC).
According to data presented by the international non-governmental organisation, TechnoServe, a number of companies have significantly improved their compliance with food fortification standards since commitments they made at last year’s forum.
Among six of the leading producers of staple foods in Nigeria, the proportion of adequately fortified wheat flour increased from 58 per cent to 74 per cent; fortified edible oil increased from 63 per cent to 75 per cent; fortified sugar increased from 32 per cent to 84 per cent; and salt iodization levels are maintained at nearly 100 per cent.
Together, these producers account for 90 per cent or more of the production volume of these foods—except for edible oil, for which they represent closer to 40 per cent of the production volume. These efforts are part of the Strengthening African Processors of Fortified Foods (SAPFF) project focused on increasing consumer access to adequately fortified foods, implemented by TechnoServe with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“We are demonstrating that when companies champion their role in delivering healthy products for consumers, it also delivers good business outcomes.
“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,” said Dangote