Voice Action – National Edible Oil Fortification
The Government of India is committed to addressing the problem of micronutrient deficiencies and has been running a Vitamin A supplementation programme for children under five years for more than a decade.
However, only 25 per cent of children under five years old have received a dose of vitamin A in the six months preceding the nationally representative National Family Health Survey III (2005–06). Also, there is no programme to cover children above five years, pregnant women, women in post-partum phase, and adults.
To supplement these efforts, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) collaborated with Global Alliance for Improving Nutrition (GAIN) and Voice and launched an initiative on National Edible Oil Fortification aimed at advocating for oil fortification. The project aims at building consensus around fortification as an industry-led initiative and to generate evidence on the merits of business-led expansion of a fortified edible oil portfolio. The project will entail engagement with various stakeholders (business leaders, technical experts, nutritionists and policymakers) to build consensus on taking forward the agenda of largescale fortification of edible oils.
Under the initiative, Voice, CII and GAIN together are organizing Stakeholder Consultation on Oil Fortification workshops across all major cities of India. The workshops began on 18 June 2015 in Jaipur, Rajasthan, and until 22 August 2015, covered 23 cities in 23 states and union territories across India.
Oils and fats, like carbohydrates and proteins, are major components of the human diet. Depending on the source, oils provide not only energy but also the essential fatty acids required for human growth and development. The fat-soluble vitamins – vitamins A, D and E – mix uniformly with oils, making them an excellent, cost-effective vehicle for fortification with these micronutrients. For example, studies have shown that fortification of cooking oil with vitamin A improves intake amongst vulnerable populations without any increase in cooking-oil consumption.