KARACHI: Chief Executive Officer of Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP) Allah Nawaz Soomro has stressed the need to raise awareness about fortification of flour, ghee and oil amongst the masses particularly millers, traders, retailers and wholesalers as millions of people mostly women and children across the country were suffering terribly due to severe malnutrition.
Speaking at an orientation session organized jointly by Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), TRDP, Food Fortification Program and UK Aid, CEO TRDP said that there was absolutely no harm in fortifying flour, oil and ghee with Vitamin A, Vitamin D and other minerals which are essential for a healthy human body therefore, the importance of fortification must be promoted amongst people from all walks of life with a view to ensure a healthy society.
The session was attended by President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Vice President KCCI Asif Sheikh Javaid, Former Vice President Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Managing Committee Members, representatives from Sindh Food Authority, and others.
CEO TRDP, while referring to numerous activities undertaken by TRDP in association with Government of Pakistan, Government of Sindh and UK Aid, informed that during all these activities and awareness sessions, the participants were sensitized about the addition of vitamins, iron and other minerals in flour, ghee and oil to provide nutrient filled food for children and women to overcome the malnutrition and stunted growth. “Addition of vitamins and other minerals to these household commodities would lead to disease prevention, boost immunity and improve cognitive development and productivity”, he added. [the_ad id=”31605″] He said that the around 1 million households across Sindh province have benefitted from TRDP and they have established a total of 22 offices all over Sindh with a staff of around 1400 while a total of 35,000 women have been trained so far in the agriculture and garments sectors.
He suggested that TRDP can collaborate with Karachi Chamber in the field of Research & Development and both institutions can carry out studies, perform surveys and identify issues.
Underscoring the need for devising legislations about fortifications of flour, ghee & oil, he said that the government was currently working on the said legislations and draft has been prepared but it was going to take a lot of time as it was at initial stages.
In response, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while agreeing to CEO TRDP’s suggestion, advised to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between KCCI and TRDP so that both institutions could jointly carry out awareness campaigns in the larger interest of the country, particularly Sindh province.
President KCCI pointed out that Pakistan has a high burden of malnutrition and the country is facing health and economic consequences due to under-nutrition. The National Nutrition Survey of Pakistan found that majority of children and women of reproductive age suffer from multiple micronutrient deficiencies which was a very serious issue that requires special attention.
Referring to Prime Minister’s first speech to the nation, Junaid Makda said that PM Imran Khan quoted a report of the UNDP which reads that Pakistan is amongst the top five countries in the world where children die because of malnutrition. “It is really unfortunate that 45 percent of Pakistani children, that is, almost every other child, suffer from this disease”, he added.
Stunting has a strong link with economic well-being and every 10 percent increase in per capita income results in decline of stunting by 3.2 percent, he said, adding that Pakistan loses $7.6 billion or three percent of its GDP each year due to malnutrition.
Referring to KCCI’s liaison with Sind Food Authority, he said that the Karachi Chamber, being a socially responsible citizen, would be more than happy to work in collaboration with TRDP and extend full support to all its endeavors in Sindh.