The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana has hailed Africa Improved Foods Rwanda (AIF), a local plant processing fortified foods, for their contribution towards the eradication of malnutrition.
She expressed the appreciation yesterday during the official launch of AIF in Kigali Special Economic Zone. The event was graced by top officials from IFC, Dutch Development Bank –FMO, CDC Group, Royal DSM and the government of Rwanda.
“Activities carried out by this company are very critical for this nation. As you know Rwanda is committed to ending malnutrition. Rwanda has subscribed and is implementing various programs to make sure we are ending malnutrition as soon as possible,” said Dr. Mukeshimana.
“We have committed to end malnutrition by 2025. As a nation we feel that ending malnutrition is a moral obligation that we have to do to ensure that no one of our children is deprived of a future free of nutrition insecurity,” she added.
Minister Mukeshimana said that having a local plant processing fortified food will accelerate the pace of eliminating malnutrition adding that activities of AIF are a testimony of how public, private partnerships can be instrumental in speeding up development.
AIF Rwanda provides fortified food for pregnant women and babies making sure they are well nourished. “Food fortification has been rated among most successful initiatives countries have applied to fight malnutrition and the country is happy to be doing it locally here,” she said.
“Through World Food Program, Some of products are exported to other African, countries including South Sudan,” she said.
Communities benefit from AIF
Minister Mukeshimana revealed that 20800 mothers are already benefiting from AIF program of feeding mothers while 83,429 babies receive the foods.
AIF plant manufactures six types of local nutrients including Shisha Kibondo, Nootri Mama and Nootri Toto among others produced for World Food Program.
According to AIF, more than 300 staff are working at the plant while more than 9,000 small holder farmers supply raw materials to the plant in return for money.The number is expected to double in coming years.
The AIF Rwanda CEO , Amar Ali thanked Rwanda government for facilitating establishment of the plant saying it will too support existing initiatives meant to combat malnutrition.
“Our progress has been made possible by the favorable business environment in Rwanda and strong support from government,” he said.
The plant plans to develop strong relationships with local farmers and offering trainings to attract increased production meeting the demand of required raw materials.