Petry N, Wirth JP, Friesen VM, Rohner F, Nkundineza A, Chanzu E, Tadesse KG, Gahutu JB, Neufeld LM, Birol E, Boy E, Mudyahoto B, Muzhingi T, Mbuya MNN

August 2020 – Current Developments in Nutrition

Biofortification of staple crops has the potential to increase nutrient intakes and improve health outcomes. Despite the increasing scale of many biofortification programs, information on the coverage of biofortified foods in the general population is often lacking. Such information is needed to ascertain potential for impact and identify bottlenecks to parts of the impact pathway. To assess biofortification programs, 5 indicators of population-wide household coverage were developed, building on approaches previously used to assess large-scale food fortification programs. These were 1) consumption of the food; 2) awareness of the biofortified food; 3) availability of the biofortified food; 4) consumption of the biofortified food (ever); and 5) consumption of the biofortified food current). To ensure that the indicators are applicable to different settings they were tested in a cross-sectional household-based cluster survey in rural and peri-urban areas in Musanze District, Rwanda where planting materials for iron-biofortified beans (IBs) and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSPs) were delivered. The major bottlenecks to coverage of biofortified foods were awareness and availability. These methods and indicators fill a gap in the availability of tools to assess coverage of biofortified foods, and the results of the survey highlight their utility for identifying bottlenecks. Further testing is warranted to confirm the generalizability of the coverage indicators and inform their operationalization when deployed in different settings.

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