Introduction

Kenya has made good progress in the war against malnutrition for children under the age of five years. Although significant progress has been made in the fight against malnutrition, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for stunting (chronic malnutrition) and wasting are yet to be realized (KDHS, 2014).  Food fortification is among the High Impact Nutrition Interventions (HiNi) identified by the Ministry of Health to reduce malnutrition in Kenya. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines fortification as the practice of adding essential micronutrients like Iron (Fe), Zinc (Zn), Folic acid, Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and B12 to food in order improve its nutritional quality and to provide a public health benefit with minimal risk to health (WHO & FAO, 2016).

The Ministry of Health, with help from partners, is implementing the National food fortification program in Kenya. In efforts to strengthen the national fortification program, the Kenya Foods, Drugs and Chemical Substance Act was amended in 2012 to include mandatory fortification of maize and wheat flours with specific vitamins and minerals (GOK, 2012). In addition, a gazette notice was issued the same year (Kenya Gazette Supplement No. 62) which makes fortification of maize and wheat flours mandatory. The large-scale millers have adopted fortification technology following this regulation.  However, most of the fortified flours, often from large scale millers are beyond the reach of the poor vulnerable households. This is because packaged flour is not routinely consumed by rural and urban poor households. Instead, they source their flour from micro, small and medium scale millers (MSMM). Unfortunately, most MSMMs lack the capacity to fortify flours. A multistage process to support all millers is needed in order improve the micronutrient status of the entire population.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) is implementing a European Union Funded Food Fortification project that seeks to strengthen the current government initiatives to fortify maize flour. The program is entitled ‘Strengthening the Kenya National Food Fortification Programme to improve the health and nutritional status of poor and vulnerable groups’. Through the Programme it is anticipated that food fortification will become part of the routine milling process for all maize millers in Kenya. This will result in improved health outcomes across the Country.