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November 21, 2018

Blended flour to be on shelves next year

Agriculture cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri ,deputy director ministry of health dr. peter Cherotich and Deputy mission director USAID KenyaHeather Shilga during the launch of agri-nutrition conference at the kenya school of government on 11th.September.2018/EZEKIEL AMING'A
Agriculture cabinet secretary Mwangi Kiunjuri ,deputy director ministry of health dr. peter Cherotich and Deputy mission director USAID KenyaHeather Shilga during the launch of agri-nutrition conference at the kenya school of government on 11th.September.2018/EZEKIEL AMING'A

You will soon be able to buy a packet of unga blended with cassava, millet and sorghum.

This will be effective next year when the blending policy will be gazetted and millers required to implement it.

Agriculture CS Mwangi Kiunjuri yesterday said his ministry has started the maize flour blending initiative to improve nutrition. He said this will create a market for the crops used in blending, increase dietary diversity and contribute to increased micro-nutrient intake.

The policy will be in line with the Big Four agenda on food security and nutrition. It is aimed at reducing stunted growth.

The Kenya Demographic Health Survey shows about 26 per cent of children aged under five are stunted, 11 per cent are under weight and four per cent are wasted.

Kiunjuri said the policy will open up parts of the country to have the benefit of producing their best crops, something previously hampered by comparative advantage. He said millet does well in lower Eastern and West Pokot, while sorghum and cassava do well in Nyanza and Western. Introducing blending will open up these regions to the market, he added.

Millers had raised concern that blending could change the taste and colour of ugali, but the CS said there have been discussions to ensure all concerns are answered before the policy is implemented.

Kiunjuri spoke yesterday during the 2nd Agri-Nutrition Conference at the Kenya School of Government. He said producing food and getting income from agriculture does not automatically translate to improved nutrition.

The CS said the country is currently experiencing a triple burden of malnutrition through under nutrition, overweight and obesity.

In a speech read by Peter Cherutich, the deputy director of medical services, Health CS Sicily Kariuki said malnutrition costs African economies between three and 16 per cent of GDP annually. She said the resources could be directed to economic development. Kariuki further said the ministry is implementing high impact nutrition interventions.

Read: Six counties to face severe food shortage, malnutrition

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