WFP partners local manufacturers to produce healthy foods
The World Food Programme (WFP) is collaborating with local manufacturers to produce safe and healthy foods for beneficiaries of its programmes.
The initiative includes the production, processing and distribution of foods, and forms part of WFP’s local sourcing policy to ensure food products procured for vulnerable beneficiaries in countries in Africa hit by conflict, climate change and socio economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were safe and also met quality standards.
Processors of foods such as grains, cereals, fortified oils, cereal blends and peanut butter would receive support under the initiative.
At a five-day Africa food safety and quality retreat in Accra yesterday, the Country Director of WFP - Ghana, Barbara Tulu Clemens, said her outfit would ensure that more than half of essential nutritious food products required for their programmes were procured within the continent.
Participants include food safety and quality experts from across Africa and beyond who are discussing how to promote local sourcing of safe and healthy food products in countries the programme operates in to safeguard lives.
Other topics are food safety and quality in Africa - aflatoxin control and management strategy, impact of climate change and security issues.
They will also discuss the importance of food standards in regulating food safety in developing countries where regulatory frameworks were still limited.
Ms Clemens said WFP was supporting two industrial food processors in the country to set up new food processing facilities, while developing global level food safety and quality management systems.
One of the companies already exports life-saving nutritious food to some vulnerable countries such as Afghanistan while the other company was also involved in the production of safe, quality and nutritious foods for local consumption.
In collaboration with the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ms Clemens said three food processing facilities would also be commissioned soon to produce nutritious cereal blends and other creative local foods to meet the nutritious needs of local communities.
She said there were also plans to facilitate the establishment of multi-user agro-processing firms for various foods under the WFP country strategic plan which would be implemented between 2024 and 2028.
The Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the FDA, Roderick Kwabena Daddey-Adjei, said food and nutrition were key to a decent life and vibrant community, including meeting the Sustainable Development Goals.
He said the WFP was central in helping Africa achieve food security in the face of economic hardships resulting from conflicts, natural disasters and climate change.
According to him, the WFP was undertaking a number of interventions, including supporting the national school feeding programme.
As part of efforts to ensure food safety, he said the authority had developed a food safety policy and a progressive licence scheme which was supporting local industries to produce food products in hygienic conditions.
This will make it easier for the local companies to attract the WFP local sourcing support.
He, therefore, urged local companies to take advantage of the schemes to receive technical support to meet the required standards and prevailing food safety requirements.
The Food Safety Quality Chief of the WFP, Virginia Siebenrok, also emphasised the significance of the meeting to discuss challenges, exchange knowledge, align visions and standardise technical support and operational interventions.