Kenya and the region will, in the coming weeks, have a new National Food Fortification Reference Laboratory. The facility to be located at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology will significantly enhance the country’s capacity to monitor and evaluate the level of compliance of different fortified food products to the national standards
The laboratory will also be important in building capacity of regulatory authorities such as Kenya Bureau of Standards to effectively understand and interpret fortification results for target products.
On the research front, the reference facility to be equipped with an array of state of the art equipment, will see two doctorate and four masters students trained on food fortification, a move that is expected to increase the number of qualified personnel in the fortification sector.
Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday May 3, 2018, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said the laboratory will ensure millers comply to global fortification standards while enhancing the teaching and research environment at JKUAT.
She lauded it as an exemplary output of multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research collaboration that will greatly impact the health and nutritional status of the Kenyan population and beyond.
“Food and nutritional security is a subject of national and global development as captured in the government’s four priority areas; Africa Agenda 2063, and United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals,” Prof. Imbuga said
The laboratory is being actualized as part of the KS. 400 million European Union funded national food fortification programme being implemented by JKUAT in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
The Project Coordinator, Prof. Daniel Sila said the initiative will combine the best practices on food fortification with food safety aspects to ensure that consumers get the recommended amounts of micro-nutrients in a safe way.
Teresia Kang’ethe, Operations Manager of Property World Limited that has been contracted to put up the building said her team was ready to ensure the construction is completed within schedule.
The groundbreaking ceremony was also witnessed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Research, Production and Extension, Prof. Mary Abukutsa.