The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in collaboration with the European Union (EU) on 20th August, 2020 hosted a regional validation meeting for the SADC Minimum Standards for Food Fortification which is in support to the operationalization of the SADC Regional Agricultural Policy (RAP) funded under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
The SADC Minimum Standards for Food Fortification are one of the priorities in the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy (2015-2025) which is a framework for the region’s nutrition and agriculture sector that contributes to the SADC Common Agenda on sustainable and equitable economic growth.
Standing in for the Director of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Domingos Gove, the Senior Technical Advisor responsible for Nutrition, Ms Pontsho Sepoloane, applauded the support provided to the SADC region by the EU. She highlighted that good nutrition was an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle for SADC communities, which was faced with high prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies. Ms Sepoloane added that food fortification had been identified as one of the cost-effective interventions while restating that developing minimum standards for food fortification would contribute to addressing the identified deficiencies.
On his part, the Programme Officer for the European Union for the Republic of Botswana, Mr Tebogo Matlhare commended SADC Member States for their active engagement in the development process. He underscored the importance of developing minimum standards for food fortification as positive development in support to the SADC Food and Nutrition Security Strategy.
Through the minimum standards, it was envisaged that Member States would;
Following the validation meeting, the minimum standards would form part of the discussions for the meeting of SADC Ministers responsible for Health to be held in November 2020.
The meeting was attended by technical officers responsible for Nutrition and Standard Regulation from 11 SADC Member States, namely; Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania and Zimbabwe. In addition, there were representatives from the cooperating partners such as; United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), Food Fortification Initiative (FFI), Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), and Iodine Global Network (IGN).