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Fighting stunting and malnutrition in Pakistan

Uzwil (Switzerland), June 23, 2017 – In Pakistan, more than 40 percent of children are affected by stunting and 30 percent are underweight. The UK-based Food Fortification Program addresses this issue through the fortification of staple foods and has awarded Bühler a multi-million contract to supply more than 1000 micro feeders in 2017 and 2018. The program is funded with USD 48 million from the UK’s Department for International Development. With effective measures that will directly support local mills and food factories, the program will have a substantial impact on the well-being of close to 100 million people.

Pakistan has one of the highest rates of child malnutrition in the world: more than 40 percent of children are affected by stunting and 30 percent are underweight. Stunting results from inadequate nutrition during the first 1000 days of life, from conception to two years of age. It limits physical, cognitive, and emotional development. A study, issued in 2017 by the Pakistan Scaling-Up Nutrition Secretariat in collaboration with the UN World Food Program, estimates that the impact of malnutrition equates to 3% of Pakistan’s GDP.

The fortification of staple foods is an effective way of increasing nutritional intake of a broad base of the population, for example through the addition of vitamins and minerals to wheat flour during the wheat milling process. Bühler will supply more than 1000 micro-feeders to the Food Fortification Program to support flour mills in Pakistan in 2017 and 2018. The new Fortification Program is backed with USD 48 million of funding from the UK’s Department for International Development. Altogether, around 350 flour mills, which is about half of the mills in Pakistan, will be able to add iron, folic acid, vitamin B12, and zinc to wheat flour in order to fortify staples, such as roti and chapatti. “We are proud and thankful to engage in the fight against malnutrition in Pakistan. This program will reach more than 50% of the population through wheat flour fortification. It is an important project that has a major impact on health and wellbeing in Pakistan,” says Walter von Reding, Head of Bühler’s Flour Services business.

Bühler’s proposal to supply the micro-feeders excelled with its local network and market access. The company is able to oversee the installation and commissioning and offer strong support as well as an extended warranty to the local millers in Pakistan. “Our proximity to the local markets and our knowledge of the millers in Pakistan were key factors when the program decided to partner up with us to deliver the solutions. We are confident to deliver another batch of 1500 micro-feeders in 2019 and 2020, fighting malnutrition in that region even more,” says Rahman Mahboob, Bühler Country Manager in Pakistan.

Bühler has a long-standing cooperation with partners in the field of fortification, including DSM, a provider of nutritional food ingredients, and NGOs like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI), united under the objective to fight malnutrition worldwide.

More information about the Food Fortification Initiative (FFI): http://www.ffinetwork.org/

More information about the Micronutrient Initiative/Nutrition International in Canada: https://www.nutritionintl.org/in-the-world/asia/pakistan/

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