​Promoting locally fortified sunflower oil using e-vouchers

Bringing fortified oils to rural Tanzanians

Many women and children in Tanzania lack essential vitamins in their diets. These chronic deficiencies can lead to severe malnutrition, causing stunting and increased susceptibility to disease. One-third of all children and 37% of women do not get enough vitamin A, which, in pregnant women, increases the chances of birth defects.

The Government of Tanzania aims to expand production and consumption of fortified foods to conquer nutritional deficiencies. Fortification of edible oil with vitamin A will soon become mandatory. However, it is not certain whether poor rural Tanzanians will benefit from this policy. While the country’s large-scale producers who are fortifying refined oil don’t reach many rural areas, the small- and medium-scale local producers have technical difficulties in fortifying their crude oils.

Reaching lactating mothers with e-vouchers

This project, supported by IDRC and GAC through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, will address vitamin A deficiency in rural Tanzania by enabling local processors to fortify unrefined sunflower oil with vitamin A. The research will measure how well the consumption of this product improves the diet and food security of rural Tanzanians.

The research team will test innovative mechanisms such as electronic vouchers to target vulnerable groups on a large scale. E-voucher discounts delivered by mobile phone to 65,000 lactating mothers will provide a temporary price incentive to help build a market for the product. The scheme will also enable researchers to survey consumers in the intervention and control districts. 

The project will demonstrate that small- and medium-scale businesses can assist the government to reach nutritional policy goals in rural areas, while stimulating the local economy. The results will inform planning interventions in Tanzania to address vitamin A deficiency and develop national food and nutrition policies.

Expected outcomes

  • Deliver vitamin A-fortified crude sunflower oil to the lactating mothers of 65,000 children and their families (up to 400,000 people)
  • Enable local sunflower oil processors to provide fortified oil to 600 retailers 
  • Improve child and maternal nutrition
  • Foster local economic growth benefiting farmers and entrepreneurs
  • Prove that small-scale fortification of crude sunflower oil is possible

Project ID

107790

Project status

Active

Start Date

Friday, August 1, 2014

End Date

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Duration

30 months

IDRC Officer

Wesley Annie

Total funding

CA$ 4,200,208

Country(s)

Africa

Project Leader

Theobald Mosha

Institution

Sokoine University of Agriculture

Institution Website

http://www.suanet.ac.tz/

Project Leader

Thom Dixon

Institution

Mennonite Economic Development Associates of Canada

Institution Website

http://www.meda.org