Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in collaboration with The Gambia government and
EU recently organised a day long workshop on Legal and Regulatory Framework for
food fortification in The Gambia at Ocean Bay Hotel, Bakau.
FAO has reassured its commitment in combating food insecurity and malnutrition in The Gambia through pragmatic and sustainable solutions.
The programme was aim at improving the food and nutrition security of vulnerable women and children in The Gambia with specific objective focusing on ensuring access to and consumption of micronutrient rich foods.
Mariaton Njie, who deputised for Dr. Perpetua Katapakala said FAO will continue extend its support to the country’s efforts to combat food insecurity and malnutrition.
She said this will be done by providing pragmatic and sustainable solutions, adding the EU funded is one of FAO initiatives designed to fight food insecurity.
“Archiving food fortification programmes full impact on health and development outcomes requires a multi-disciplinary approach,” she said.
She added: “The impact of food fortification on the nutritional status of target populations should be monitored so that appropriate corrective action can take place as required.”
She also urged the country to provide laws and regulations to undertake effective food fortification.
Mrs. Njie further said that the country should continue to harmonised national legislation regarding fortified foods, saying The Gambia imports several food items.
For his part, Lamin Jaiteh deputising the director of Food Security Quality Authority (FSQA) said that micronutrient malnutrition affects several millions of people worldwide, particularly for low income countries of Asia and Africa.
“It affects all sex and ages throughout the life stages as it also affects women and children in contributing to growth retardation, mortality, impaired intellectual performance and reduced work capacity” he said.
Modou Phall, executive director of National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) said the government of The Gambia through FAO has project on food fortification and bio-fortification.
“We are here to look at the legal accepts, regulatory and policies of food fortification in order to improve nutritional statues and health statues of The Gambian populations,” he said.
He assured that they want to make sure all policies are mandatory or voluntary to make sure that selected food items be fortified in the country, and those that are going to be imported be fortified before they enter in the country.
“This is all about how we improve upon the nutritional statues of the Gambian population and through improving the nutritional statues of the Gambian population, how do we empowered communities and also to make them to be more economically viable,” he stated.
Mr. Phall added that one of the strategies that is being used to address micronutrient deficiencies is through fortification and bio-fortification.