From food aid to nutritious, locally produced food: A look at fortifying flour in Ethiopia
Friday, July 25, 2014
Right now in Ethiopia, nearly half of all children under the age of 5 are stunted and anemic. Not only are they short for their age, but they also suffer from diminished cognitive abilities and are more vulnerable to health problems overall.
According to the World Food Program, stunted children are more likely to repeat grades in school and achieve, on average, a year less schooling than other children. Nearly one third of child mortality in Ethiopia is associated with undernutrition.
The economic impact is immediately apparent: a less prepared, smaller adult workforce and an annual hit to Ethiopia’s GDP estimated at $450 million. A weakened economy only feeds back into the vicious cycle; fewer internal resources are available to feed the population and invest in economic development.
At Partners in Food Solutions, however, we like to see that vicious cycle as a potentially virtuous cycle. When you turn it around, it means that better nutrition and sustained food security can drive economic growth. One crucial, but often overlooked, component of better nutrition is the fortification of basic foodstuffs.