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May 20, 2018

Blending food will help fight stunted growth – Lesiyampe

Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe at white sands hotel in Mombasa county  during induction of agriculture committee meeting.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI
Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe at white sands hotel in Mombasa county during induction of agriculture committee meeting.Photo / JOHN CHESOLI

The government plans to introduce a food blending policy to combat malnutrition.

Agriculture PS Richard Lesiyampe told the Star on the phone yesterday this will reduce cases of stunted growth in Kenya.

About 30 per cent of children under five are stunted, according to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey.

“For us to have better nutrition, we need to go back to our traditional high value crops. They include amaranth, sweet potatoes, cassava, sorghum and millet,” he said.

Lesiyampe said they are having talks with stakeholders including millers. However, there are concerns that blending may change the taste and colour of ugali.

“We should look at this issue from a nutritional angle. We need a healthy nation. This will help open up parts of the country that grow millet, sorghum and cassava,” he said.

Lesiyampe said millet does well in Lower Eastern and West Pokot. In Nyanza and Western the weather is conducive for sorghum and cassava.

Chairman of Cereals Millers Association Nick Hutchinson told the Star yesterday members are discussing the implications of blending.

“There are a lot of pros and cons on this issue which must be looked into,” he said.

A nutritionist at the Ministry of Health, Gladys Mugambi, said it is important to engage consumers and other stakeholders.

“Kenyans must have a say before a decision is made. It is a good move because it will enhance nutrition. The taste of the food may be different, but the quality will be good,” she said.

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