Stakeholders Push for Nutritious and Safe Flour

Prof. Daniel Sila gives his remarks during the conference

Maize is a vital staple food crop for many Kenyan communities. The production, distribution, and consumption of maize flour play a crucial role in achieving food security and good nutrition for the Kenyan population.

However, despite the crucial role maize plays in the food system, there are still challenges that need to be addressed to ensure sustainable production, distribution, and consumption of affordable, nutritious maize flour.

This was the quandary during the annual millers’ conference that brought together over 150 participants drawn from small and medium-scale millers, academia, development agencies, policymakers, government ministries and agencies.

The conference staged, March 9, 2023, provided a platform for reflection, dialogue, and exploration of strategies for creating an enabling environment for the milling industry to guarantee the availability of affordable, safe and nutritious flour.

A cross-section of the participants during the millers’ conference

The rallying call for all stakeholders was to work together towards overcoming the challenges facing the maize flour industry in Kenya.

While acknowledging the strides made in the industry, especially with regards to fortification, the Project Manager, JKUAT-EU Funded Food Fortification Project, Prof. Daniel Sila said all the stakeholders in the milling industry need to pull together to strengthen public-private partnerships and drive the flour fortification agenda. He also called for enhanced self-regulation, and identification of possible solutions to the challenges facing the milling industry.

“Fostering a working relationship between these stakeholders is essential in addressing the challenges facing the maize industry in Kenya. A collaborative approach would help to identify gaps in the production, distribution, and consumption of maize flour, and develop strategies to address them,” said Prof. Sila.

Prof. Daniel Sila lauds the launch of the Grain Mill Owners association

Prof. Sila further said that JKUAT will continue undertaking research and innovating in the area of food fortification in a bid to inform policy decisions and guide the development of interventions aimed at improving the production, distribution, and consumption of maize flour.

“As an academic institution, our key role is to support millers with relevant knowledge, research outputs and innovations to provide practical solutions to the challenges facing the millers,” said Prof. Sila.

For instance, the EU-funded Food Fortification Project, domiciled at JKUAT with the help of faculty and students has developed a Fourier Transform Near Infrared (FT-NIR) based model that is more rapid and non-invasive analytical tool.

According to Prof. Sila, who is also the JKUAT Principal, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, FT-NIR is timely, has a short turn-around time and can handle high number of samples when evaluating the stability of vitamins and minerals in fortified maize flour.

The conference also saw the launch of the Grain Mill Owners Association (GMOA) an umbrella body consisting of six millers’ associations to advocate for the interests of its members in policy and regulatory matters while promoting a sustainable and competitive grain milling industry that can contribute to the economic development of Kenya.

The one-day conference was organised by the Grain Mill Owners Association (GMOA) in partnership with Nutrition International (NI), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology among other stakeholders.

Stakeholders push for nutritious and safe flour

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