Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Prof. Dr. Ir. Drajat Martianto Ketua Pengurus KFI
The Government of Indonesia has developed and implemented a large-scale food Fortification program in salt, wheat flour, and cooking oil. Until now, the fortification program still needs development to give maximum impact. Rice fortification is still in preparation for integrating fortified rice kernels with rice mills and strengthening the domestic FRK industry. Meanwhile, the existing fortification of cooking oil still needs to be increased in scope by implementing mandatory regulations on unbranded palm oil. Wheat flour fortification with a new type of iron has been implemented and must be followed up with an effectiveness study. Salt fortification still requires local government regulatory support to achieve USI targets at the district level. Formation of the LSFF forum (Large-scale food fortification) to increase communication effectiveness between stakeholders. To maintain the sustainability of the food fortification program in reducing hidden hunger and increasing human productivity and public health, the issue of food fortification and biofortification must be included in the 2025-204 national long-term development plan (RPJPN).
In its implementation, food fortification must face the following challenges:
- The achievement of the utilization of iodized salt that meets the requirements has only reached 77% (Basic Health Research 2013) because there are still several obstacles in providing 100% of the salt that meets the requirements;
- Main obstacles to be faced:
- The price disparity between fortified and unfortified salt
- Traditional salt does not meet the Indonesian National Standard (SNI)
- The continuity of KIO3 supply has yet to be guaranteed.
- Decreased attention to the salt fortification program due to misinterpretation
- Excessive intake of iodized salt
- Not all local governments have regulations to control them.
- effective distribution and quality of iodized salt
- Limited availability of up-to-date data (salt coverage, Iodine excretion) impedes data-based decision-making for planning, monitoring, and evaluation.
- The continuity of mandatory fortification of wheat flour is quite vulnerable to issues of changes in the situation of international trade/fair trade, pandemics, food crises, and changes to standard fortificant regulations, so it requires scrutiny from policymakers and business actors to be able to anticipate changes that occur and make adaptations appropriately taking into account the impact on nutrition and public health in Indonesia;
- The Indonesian government has adjusted the latest SNI issued in 2021, which specifically stipulates a change in the iron Fe-Fumarate/FeSO4/Fe-Na-EDTA type to replace Fe-elemental. However, this change has not been supported by an effectiveness study that is needed to evaluate its effectiveness at the community level;
- Until now, this fortification program has no integrated monitoring and evaluation system.
- Implementing fortification is experiencing quite high dynamics influenced by the international trade situation according to the function of palm products as food and non-food (bioenergy). The government has repeatedly relaxed the mandatory fortification of palm cooking oil, but the relaxation is only for SNI markers, not quality requirements.
- Provisions regarding SNI only apply to packaged palm cooking oil (up to 25 kg), which only reaches around 30% of consumers. At the same time, low-income households generally consume bulk palm cooking oil (coverage of about 70%), so the effectiveness of vitamin A fortification towards improving the community's vitamin A status is considered low.
- Regarding the point above, no regulatory instrument currently allows the fortification of bulk cooking oil, so solving this problem requires a regulatory breakthrough and quality assurance system (including quality control points).
- The government is currently trying to develop technology so that the cooking oil production process can maintain its B-carotene levels to deal with the possible scarcity of fortificant Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate), which is increasingly needed and tends to be more expensive. Further studies are still needed regarding public acceptance and effectiveness.
- So far, no guidelines exist for mixing vitamin A and cooking oil to produce standardized-quality cooking oil.
- The unavailability of rapid test kits for vitamin A and beta carotene to evaluate vitamin A levels in cooking oil/Beta-Carotene in Palm Cooking Oil
- Rice is a staple food commodity with the most potential to be fortified with iron, etc. However, on the other hand, there are quite several obstacles to rice fortification:
- A large number of small rice millers (production capacity ≤1,500 Kg of grain), which will complicate coordination and quality control;
- The limited FRK (Fortified Rice Kernel) industry and the high price of Imported FRK, which still dominates the FRK currently used;
- The additional cost of FRK costs and mixing/blending and packaging of fortified rice is still high because the mixing is done on packaged rice;
- Efforts to reduce fortification costs can be made, among others, through the integration of the FRK industry with rice mills and strengthening the domestic FRK industry by establishing a long-term rice fortification policy,
- The policy (including the target) of Rice Fortification for Social Assistance through BPNT (Non-Cash Food Assistance) has been listed in the 2020-2024 RPJMN. However, its implementation still needs to be improved, particularly regarding additional cost financing and social assistance policies that have changed (no longer exist) BPNT). An alternative can be done through the distribution of food reserves as BAPANAS through Bapanas using the BULOG/BUMN partnership scheme and rice mills in each target area, as well as an effort to strengthen regional food reserves.
Food biofortification is one of the solutions to address long-term agriculture-based nutrition problems that can be applied not only to grains (rice, corn, etc.) but also to tubers (cassava, sweet potato, etc.), legumes, etc. and side by side with food fortification and diversification programs.
- "Only" one nutrient cannot be multi-micro-nutrient like food fortification.
- The types of varieties that exist now are not due to the nutritional problems faced (Iron Nutrition Anemia, KVA, GAKI), so their promotion must be integrated with the Food Diversification program.
- Acceptability (color, size, texture, etc.) often needs to be improved.
- It takes a long time to produce a new variety.
Based on the Pre-National Conference on Food and Nutrition discussion, the recommendations that have been formulated are as follows:
- To ensure the involvement of businesses and investors in the food fortification program, efforts are needed to ensure that the issues of Sustainable Food Fortification and Biofortification are accommodated in the National Long Term Development Plan (RPJPN) 2025 – 2045, which are then detailed in each of the five-year plans of the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) )
- Detailed plans, stages, targets, and timelines for Large-Scale Food Fortification (LSFF) are required to guide the implementation of fortification & biofortification programs.
- In anticipating and dealing with technical and non-technical problems, a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Working Group/Forum is needed to coordinate the implementation of the national food fortification program, including research (product development/efficacy, effectiveness, CBA, etc.) regulation, standardization, capacity building (HR, technology, guidance), budgeting, education, advocacy, monitoring, and integrated evaluation.