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USAID Frontlines May/June 2013: Enriching Nutrition in Senegal

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jun 23, 2013 11:44 PM
Contributors: Zack Taylor
Early reports show booming sales for women’s groups that learn to make and market enriched flour, which is boosting the health of the region’s young.
Original Source SENO PALEL, Senegal – Despite being a major producer of cereal in Senegal, Seno Palel, a region of about 425,000 people in the country’s extreme north, also has high rates of undernutrition—22 percent of the children are underweight and nearly 18 percent suffer from stunted growth. The problem: Apart from staple grains, there’s not much else to eat. Due to the harsh climate, the few vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables that are cultivated locally are expensive and rarely become a regular part of villagers’ diets. One solution: vitamin-enriched flour. In 2012, staff from USAID’s Yaajeende Food Security Project, part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, began to test the market for fortified food products and iodized salt to gauge the level of interest in Seno Palel and its surrounding villages. Surprisingly, demand was much stronger than anticipated. Enriched flour—which essentially blends regular corn flour with other pulverized, vitamin-rich ingredients like black-eyed peas, peanuts, millet, jujube and baobab, can be found in larger urban areas, but not in rural areas where the high cost of transportation makes regular use by villagers too expensive. In response, USAID began engaging community nutrition volunteers (CNVs) to train women’s groups to enrich their own flour. USAID’s Feed the Future agro-nutrition project trains CNVs like 43-year-old Raky Mamadou Niane, who works with 15 women’s groups in the villages around Seno Palel in the Matam region. Read more...
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