Where rice is a staple food and micronutrient deficiencies are widespread, the fortification of rice with vitamins and minerals has the potential to substantially improve the nutrition, health and economic status. Women, adolescent girls and children from resource-poor, food-insecure, households are more vulnerable and can benefit from nutrients delivered through widely consumed staple foods. To achieve this potential however, the scale of fortification must be sufficient to ensure costs remain affordable, and investment incentives are favorable.
Using data from various sources, this paper analyses the global rice market within the context of various demand and supply driven program strategies and models for the scale up of rice fortification.
Global rice trade has quadrupled since the late 80âs and now stands at approximately 42 million tons. Although, Asia is a dominant producer and supplier of rice; rice consumption and importation is rising in Africa and Middle East accounting for nearly half of the total global rice trade. An exclusively Asia-centric approach that relies on supply capacity development is not optimal. Adoption of a global approach inclusive of an enabling policy and regulatory environment in importing regions driving demand for fortified rice is thus desirable for scaling-up rice fortification.
Programs limited to smaller geographies do not offer sufficient opportunity and volumes resulting in diminished cost effectiveness or impact. Thus this paper concludes that rice fortification programs require the adoption of a global perspective and need to incorporate appropriate activities and strategies into their design to achieve scale and reduce micronutrient deficiencies.