Empower retailers to promote fortified, nutritious food – WFP

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has called on the government to do all possible to empower retailers to shape consumer preferences to promote good health, and nutrition by selling fortified and nutritious food in the country.

It has observed with concern that most of the retailers in the country have been selling fizzy drinks (beverages that contain dissolved carbon dioxide in carbonated water) and other non nutritious foods affecting the health of many.

Empowering the retail sectors, according the WFP, would contribute to reducing stunting and anaemia among children, adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating mothers.

Ms Patience Asiedu, Head of Nutrition at the WFP, mentioned these and emphasised that the retail sector in the country “can influence dietary behaviour, shape consumer preferences and improve nutrition if properly managed”.

Speaking at a workshop to introduce the second phase of ‘The Nutrition in Retail Project’, she said aiding children, adolescents girls, pregnant and lactating mothers to improve their nutritional status through a  nutrition retail strategy “contributes to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals One and Two with cascading effects on other goals”.

It was organised by the WFP in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Savanna Signatures and Alpha Communications and Health Foundation.

The first phase of the project was implemented in three districts-Asokore Mampong and Bosomtwe in the Ashanti  and Sagnerigu in the Northern Region.

The Nutrition in Retail Program aimed at influencing dietary behavior, contributing to shaping consumer preferences and improving nutrition among children, adolescents and pregnant and nursing women in order to reduce the triple burden of malnutrition Ghana is facing.

According to Ms Asiedu, food insecurity and under nutrition has reduced but Ghana continued to face a “triple burden of malnutrition.”

She explained triple burden of malnutrition as the co-existence of micronutrient deficiency, stunting and obesity or overweight.

“Local retailers”, she said, “with their capacity strengthened can serve as agents of change for nutrition”.

In 2020, she said WFP partnered DSM to introduce the Nutrition in Retail project in response to the need to make nutritious food available and accessible to many more Ghanaians than were being reached under the nutrition interventions which were being implemented by the GHS and WFP.

The nutritionist indicated that the project was to promote the purchase and consumption of locally available nutritious fresh foods and fortified foods that had the Obaasima symbol. 

Obaasima, she said, “is a trusted symbol which guarantees nutrition quality and identifies food products that are fortified with 18 vitamins and minerals. It has been certified by the Ghana Standards Authority and is co-owned by the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI)”.

She pointed out that the first phase of the project was successful and that WFP and GHS were supported by two local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) to strengthen demand for nutritious foods and to increase the availability of food products with Obaaaima seal on the markets.

Participants were drawn from the Ministry of Finance, GHS, AGI and NGOs.


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