The National Alliance for Food Fortification (NAFF) of The Gambia is a multi-sectoral public-private sector collaborative team.
The NAFF serves as an accountability mechanism for all food fortification interventions in The Gambia.
It works closely with the government of The Gambia, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and other relevant partners to ensure that a sustained regulatory mechanism is in place and to frequently converge and discuss important emerging issues pertaining to compliance, the promotion, distribution and consumption of fortified foods, and the implementation of strategies towards the permanent elimination of micronutrient malnutrition.
It also ensures that a sustained mechanism is in place to discuss challenges and emerging issues emanating from industries, food importers and other stakeholders hindering compliance and to take appropriate measures to address them.
The National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) is the coordinating agency of the National Alliance for Food Fortification (NAFF) in collaboration with FAO and other partners, implement activities of the NAFF.
Speaking at the meeting, Modou Cheyassin Phall, Executive Director National Nutrition Agency who also doubles as National Alliance for Food Fortification Coordinator said food fortification cannot be diverted from bio-fortification, noting that these are the two programstrying to address the issue of micronutrients deficiencies in the country.
Director Phall thanked FAO for bringing the Food Fortification project to the country. He also thanked partners such as Food Safety and Quality Authority (FSQA) and The Gambia Standards Bureau in regulating foods entering the country.
He highlighted the importance of going beyond fortifications regulations and standards, saying that implementation is taking place to ensure mandatory regulation of imported wheat flour, cooking oil and salt, which are fortified with iron, folic acid, vitamin A and salt is also adequately iodized. He described the move as a giant step for the country.
He added the project also aims to ensure foods produced in this country are also fortified.
He pointed out that government’s responsibility to make regulations and standards.However, the private sectorhas a vital role to play since they equally produce, process, transport, and sell these products, and as such, whatever good regulation government may have in the country if the private/business sector is not included, the country will not achieve its aim.
Sir Phall noted that that is why public-private partnership engagement is key.
He called on all to put their efforts together for the sustainability of the project.
He observed that NAFF without the private sector may not get to where they want it to get.
Dr. Amadou Bah, Deputy Executive Director National Nutrition Agency said it is our collective responsibility to encourage NAFF members to fully participate as they all have parts to play.
He added they aim to ensure all institutions are involved in food fortification.