SOURCE: DAILY NATION
By WINSEY MASESE
Posted Friday, June 10 2011 at 19:31
Mumias Sugar Company has launched a new sugar variety, as it moves to strengthen its market footprint in the sector.
With its new product — sugar fortified with vitamin A — the firm aims to boost vitamin A in children and reduce its deficiency, which often leads to malnutrition.
Mr Evans Kidero, managing director, said the new product will assist vulnerable population groups in Kenya by correcting and preventing micro-nutrient deficiencies, thus creating healthy and productive citizens.
“We intend to supply 10 per cent of the product to our existing market capacity and hope to produce only fortified sugar for the market in the next three to four years,” he said.
He added that studies in countries such as Swaziland and Zambia, where fortified sugar is produced, a huge decrease in vitamin A deficiency in vulnerable groups is indicated.
The sugar will not attract any extra costs and will retail in quantities of one, two and five kilogrammes.
Unicef country representative, Olivia Yambi applauded the investment, saying this would contribute to improving the nutrition status of Kenyans, especially children and pregnant women.
“The availability of sugar complements efforts by the government and other stakeholders in accelerating the uptake of vitamin A supplements,” she said.
She added that food fortification makes business sense, arguing that consumers will see the need of buying fortified sugar.
“The launch demonstrates the potential the private sector can play in contributing to health development in the country,” she said, appealing to other companies to follow in the footsteps of Mumias.
Permanent secretary ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Dr S K Shariff, said malnutrition is both a cause and consequence of Africa’s burden of poverty, diseases and mortality.
“One-third of Kenya’s child population is chronically malnourished and 76 per cent of children below five years have vitamin A deficiency,” she said.