31 July 2013, WFP, Dhaka, Bangladesh -- "Poor rural villagers in Bangladesh are now receiving rice fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, under a new joint initiative between the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Government of Bangladesh, supported by the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and global science company Royal DSM.


“The Kingdom of the Netherlands is very happy to fund this initiative and to work together with the Government of Bangladesh, WFP and DSM,” said Gerben de Jong, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.


The Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Tariq-ul Islam, and the WFP Representative in Bangladesh, Christa Räder, visited rice production and distribution sites in Kurigram today.


“Rice is Bangladesh’s most important staple food – it is the largest part of most people’s daily diet,” said Räder. “Fortified rice can deliver essential vitamins and minerals missing in many people’s meals, and can help ensure the poorest get the nutrition they need for an active and healthy life.”


Regular milled rice is low in micronutrients and serves primarily as a source of carbohydrates.  Fortified rice kernels developed by DSM are enhanced with essential micronutrients, but look, taste and cook like ordinary rice. These kernels are combined with regular rice; local millers in Kurigram and Satkhira have been engaged for this purpose.


Currently, the fortified rice is distributed to 3,000 women under the Vulnerable Group Development (VGD) programme in Kurigram Sadar Upazila. In the coming weeks 6,000 people registered in the government’s Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) programme in Satkhira will also receive fortified rice. Women and men from both locations will take part in an acceptability trial conducted in collaboration with the development organisation BRAC. ..."