- June 15, 2021
Rwanda – 11 June 2021. Partners in Food Solutions, a nonprofit working in Africa to increase economic development in the food processing sector, together with Sight and Life Rwanda, a nutrition-focused think-tank, delivered three iChecks to the Rwanda Food and Drug Authority (RFDA), a donation valued at $50,000,000 FRW. RFDA inspectors will use the iChecks in their routine inspections of vitamin A in fortified foods. Small and medium enterprises will also benefit from this contribution through access to this technology, in assistance with the RFDA, to test their products.
iChecks are an essential tool in testing the levels of specific micronutrients in food, such as vitamin A and B, iron, and zinc. While only very small quantities of these essential elements are needed for consumption, their impact on human health is tremendous. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that play a vital role in reaching and maintaining optimal function of the human body, including energy production, immune function, growth, and development. For example, vitamin A plays a central role in the development of skin, genes, growth, and the immune system; a deficiency can lead to night blindness and an increased risk of serious infections.
Fortified foods deliver additional and needed vitamins and minerals to improve the health outcomes of a population and save lives. Large-scale food fortification is also a key nutrition-sensitive and -specific intervention to fight malnutrition identified by the recent 2021 Lancet series on Maternal and Child Undernutrition. In addition to significant health benefits, fortified foods have been proven to create economic benefits such as increased productivity and decreased disease burden.
Aiming to improve the nutritional status of the population and reduce micronutrient malnutrition in Rwanda, Sight and Life, an established foundation in the country, is looking to potentially develop a Food Systems Innovation Hub (FSIH). This bold initiative is guided by research and looks to accelerate innovation, streamline processes, and support nature-positive, biodiverse agriculture. Sight and Life will host a United Nations Food System Summit Independent Dialogue investigating the gaps and needs along the value chain on July 8, 2021.