Even with the scarcity of food in the Sub-Saharan state, there seemed to be a beacon of hope shedding light of life to the human kind. It may not necessarily cut across all age brackets but surely the most important generation, the young one, would be the greatest most delighted recipient of the new product in Rwanda.
Africa Improved Foods, the Rwandan based manufacturer of high quality and nutritious complementary foods, launched its ‘Nootri’ range of commercial products which is designed to address the nutritional needs of a child in its first 1,000 days of development.
Prosper Ndayiragije, AIF’s country director the Nootri range of products said they are produced from locally grown raw materials and are meant to complement the dietary needs of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, as well as older infants above six months.
“As AIF we are also proud to have unveiled the Nootri range products, the first of its kind in Rwanda, with a message that targets a child’s first 1,000 days of its life, starting from conception,” Ndayiragije said.
The production of Nootri is inspired by solid evidence that the first 1,000 days, from conception to a child’s second birthday, are critical for its physical and mental development. The first 1,000 days of life represent the period from conception up to the age of 24 months. It is widely proven and acknowledged that offering the right nutrition during this window is essential for a child’s healthy growth and cognitive development.
AIF Rwanda is a joint venture between the Government of Rwanda and a consortium of Royal DSM, Dutch development bank (FMO), DFID Impact Acceleration Facility managed by CDC Group plc and IFC, the investment arm of the World Bank. In collaboration with the Government of Rwanda, the objective of AIF is to address malnutrition and stunting in the country and the East-African region by manufacturing high quality nutritious complementary foods. These foods are produced with locally grown maize and soya beans, which are then milled and blended with micronutrient pre-mix, skim milk powder and soy oil.
The primary beneficiaries of these complementary nutritious foods are pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, older infants above six months as well as young children. AIF Rwanda is based at the Special Economic Zone
“Older infants above six months and young children should receive nutritionally adequate and high quality complementary foods, while continuing to be breastfeed at least until a child is two years of age or more.
AIF finds it important that all children get the opportunity to develop to their full potential by giving them a proper nutrition for,” Ndayiragije added.
However, AIF also recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of an infant’s life and to continue to breastfeeding until the child in two years of age to achieve optimal growth, development and long-term health.
The Nootri range products are now available in different retail outlets. The cost for a 500gms pack is Rwf1, 400 for Nootri Mama and Rwf1, 500 for Nootri Toto (with milk).
The Africa Improved Foods plant is built in line with European technology and is FS22000 certified to produce nutritional complementary foods for not only Rwanda but also the rest of East African region.
In 2013, Rwanda launched the ‘1000 days’ national campaign to combat malnutrition with an aim of improving maternal and child health in the country.
AIF also produces fortified blended foods for the Government of Rwanda called Shisha Kibondo and another for World Food Programme called Super Cereal with the intention to help address malnutrition and stunting in young children amongst the population at the base of the pyramid.
Between January and February 2017 about 428 tonnes of government’s Shisha Kibondo have been produced by AIF.
AIF is committed to supporting local Rwandan farmers. AIF is planning to receive about 40,000 tonnes of raw materials (maize and soya) directly from farmers in 2017.